"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


"But tell me, when does it stop?"

Since the beginning of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, now raging for almost a month, I have been trying to wrap my mind around it all. I have avoided reading the stories about it because they overwhelm me. But there's no way to escape it when each morning on the little bit of news I allow myself, they announce the mounting death tolls on either side. I am angry at the U.S. government for supporting Israel's outrageous use of force--aiming at a group of people but destroying an entire country. I am distraught by the images of people weeping over their homes as their loved ones lie buried under the rubble. I am fearful that the power of hate, and the amazing potential for destruction in the modern world, will combine into a never-ending war.

I read an essay in the New York Times today, written by a woman living in Tel Aviv. It was entitled At War, at Home, Again, and is about the ways this woman has begun to cope with the violence and conflict near her home, and her fears of its escalation. In the last paragraph, she speaks my thoughts. She speaks of her 5 year-old son who is learning how to count.

"At another time, Tom’s questions might irritate me: 'What’s one more than a hundred?' 'What’s one more than a thousand?' But now when he asks the questions about numbers, I don’t lose my patience; I associate. I think of the increasing numbers of innocent dead on both sides of this conflict. 'What’s one more than that?' he says. 'And one more after that?' I try to explain infinity. 'But tell me,' he says, 'when does it stop?'"

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