We are spending the night in a hotel. A nice hotel. An expensive hotel.
The chair next to me and photographed here (there are three all the same) looks tired. Each has those two marks either side. Each has “wear and tear” evident. Each says something about this hotel without any words being said.
Human beings are nice. Some are very expensive. Some look tired. Some have those marks. Evidence of “wear and tear”. Each says something about their lives without saying anything at all.
Human beings are not chairs. Human beings each have a story to tell.
The restaurant we have just eaten in is fairly full. People breaking bread and fish. And steak and chips. And Thai noodles and prawns. The noise is of lots of conversations. Laughter. Questions. Explanations. Sharing. Being heard. Friends. Family. Fun.
When chairs show wear and tear they are usually refurbished, repurposed or recycled.
When human beings show wear and tear they have a story to share. A tragedy to find purpose. A life-change to exchange with another. Human beings just being humans.
In these days when a white van is driven as a weapon … a driver who is killed or caught is then analysed for ideology … innocents are murdered and wiped of life as though no more than pawns on a chess board … when political leaders are judged on their weasel words … when “who does hate and grief best” fills the news …
Human beings are not chairs. Human beings are good. Human beings are good at being good.
Those who kill with a van … a car … a knife … a gun …
They were innocents once. As innocent as those they now kill. They were innocents just now with wear and tear evident. A story to tell. We call their stories “stories of radicalisation”. We call their stories “stories of good and evil”. Just as those who “groomed” those (once) innocents call your and my story “stories of good and evil”. Just as our story is repugnant to them, so theirs is to us. We are not innocents either. Our killing is not with vans and cars. Our killing is with drones. With million dollar hardware. With sanitised righteousness. With westernised godliness.
But this post is not an attack on the west or the east, on religion or lifestyle, on “we are all as bad as each other”. It is not even an attack on politicians. They were also innocents once.
This post is a plea.
That when we each prefer to see those not like us as I see this chair next to me … then we extract all humanity from human beings – both them and us – and with it any need for compassion. And without either humanity or compassion … we can then view them (and they us) as no more than the chairs I see tonight.
And when chairs show wear and tear they are usually refurbished, repurposed or recycled.