Questions Of The Heart

IN MY MOST RECENT OLD TURTLE book, ‘Questions Of The Heart,’ the wise old heroine speaks to some of the great concerns of life. She speaks of love, of play, of sorrow, of family, of death, of the meaning of life itself. In the section quoted below, she speaks directly of evil.

During a time in which lies are labeled as truths and truths as lies; in which many abandon all principles and swear fealty to a dark and infantile buffoon and his cult; and in which any remembrances of light and virtue are eclipsed by a lust for power, it is clear that what has long been known as ‘evil’ is abroad and marching over the land. With its path paved by ignorance. With echoes of many past marches, of jackboots and poisoned minds, contorted faces, shouted slogans and raised fists.

Evil is always with us and within us. Sometimes it is helped and nurtured in its constant quest for ascendancy. But Old Turtle says it better than I.

“A man who sat uneasily, eyes darting, said, ‘Speak to us of evil.’

Old Turtle paused, breathing slowly, and it seemed that all the world breathed with her. Finally, she spoke.

‘It has been said that what we call ‘evil’ is simply ‘live’ turned backward upon itself,’ she murmured. ‘For evil is the opposite of life, the stunting and twisting of life to dark and bitter ends.

‘Where life reaches for light, evil would deny the light’s existence. Where life fulfills itself in variety and diversity, each flower and tree growing as it should, evil would impose its way upon all, seeking to remake others in its own likeness, answering only its own selfish desires. Where life is large and broad and deep, ever flowing, ever changing, ever giving, evil from the start is small, concerned only with itself, becoming a foul and stagnant pool.

‘Something else is often called evil, and that is simply the loss of balance. Not even the good earth, with all its tides and seasons, is in balance all the time. We experience times of plenty and times of hope, times of loss and hardship. Yet even when balance seems lost, there remains a greater, hidden balance. Destruction brings renewal. The wild wind that may someday topple these old trees will also open the canopy to the sun, that young ones may grow and seek the light.

‘It is our challenge to dwell in harmony with this deep, abiding balance at the heart of life, to live not as refugees from darkness, but as seekers of the light.’”

(Old Turtle: Questions Of The Heart, Douglas Wood, Scholastic Press, 2017)

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