Blowing our tops

Lava from the Kilauea Volcano eruption in Hawaii entering the pacific ocean

Unstable fissures in the earth, unaddressed fractures in the heart, and unattended factions within society are all of a kind.

You can’t stop lava flows, though people have tried. That’s the takeaway from one news source covering the devastating eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Nature explodes when pressure builds deep within the earth with nowhere to go. It blows its top. Molten lava spreads across the landscape doing damage, destroying homes and cars, cooling eventually to leave raggedy black rock atop smooth roads and manicured gardens. Sulfuric dioxide gases spread airborne, killing plants and causing respiratory failure in humans. 

Vivid pictures of lava flows in and around Kilauea Estates provoke thoughts of how much damage happens in families, communities and countries when pressure builds and anger brews deep within the recesses of human emotions. 

A child who is abused or neglected carries the legacy of being violated into adulthood. The brokenness doesn’t heal on its own. Only patient therapy from trained counselors and acceptance of the spiritual truth that the Divine Parent is a loving and dependable presence will calm the storm within and allow the person to live and love in peace.

American society is blowing its top in more ways than one.

The #MeToo movement has exploded with a righteous vengeance. For too long women have felt powerless over powerful men who controlled their lives and their bodies. Women learned techniques of avoidance and deflection, but often to no avail. They were denied consent and suffered unwanted advances by men who took advantage of their positions. 

America’s original sin has been exposed in a new way, too. Racism will not work itself out by whitewashing history. No attempt to ennoble Confederate leaders by reinterpreting monuments as heritage will move us forward when our history of white privilege continues to wreak havoc in black souls. To be clear: Pigment of skin is no indicator of human dignity. Black Americans are finding their God-given voice to say enough. Centuries of oppression and inequality are seen in the lava flows of civil protests and published jeremiads.

The disappearing middle class is losing hope. The value of the worker is disregarded in an age of robotic technology and globalization. Corporate profits that go to wealthy shareholders, rather than being shared with those who bear the weight of labor, fuel desperation. The longing to go back to a better day is really a desire to participate in the prosperity others experience at their expense. Our politics tap the root of hidden anger but offer no salvation, only empty slogans. 

Once the lava begins to flow, we have to give it time to cool. Then, instead of bemoaning the lingering mess, we should ask, what brought it about? We can’t cool the earth’s center, but we can listen to one another and commit to a future of mutual respect and shared well-being.

The flow of lava can’t be stopped, but happily and hopefully, neither can the flow of love.

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