Pity the Living

What does Harry Potter have to do with the carnage that occurred in Norway?  Well, I went to see the movie yesterday and there was a line in it spoken by Dumbledore that I immediately applied in my mind to what had happened on that island..  He said to Harry, “Pity not the dead, Harry.  Rather, pity the living for they still have to deal with this reality.”

It occurred to me in that moment that those young people who died, albeit in terrible circumstances, are the lucky ones for they are now likely to be in a state of peace because they are in the reality where only love is real.  Pity those who survived for they will be scarred by, and will have to live with that terrible experience for the rest of their lives.  That is, until they too make that final transition and come to realize that death is not real and that none of us die.

That idea does not make it much easier when we are still in this human reality, but in time it might.  It will be many months or more likely years before any of the young people can contemplate forgiving the killer but hopefully some of them will one day find Radical Forgiveness in some form or another and find some comfort in it.  In the meantime, only grief is possible.  Nothing else is appropriate.

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10 Responses to Pity the Living

  1. Patsy Worledge says:

    Hello Colin….was pleased to read what you wrote above….took me back to the times of grieving in MY life….. I can still be surprised in a kind of “oh well!” way….that I have come to terms so realistically of turning the page in the local newspaper, and seeing a picture of Eloise, and talk of….yet again …..re-opening the “cold case” and reinvestigating !!!!! This happened yesterday…..Some people seem to think that its NOT POSSIBLE to work through the processes and yet we know we can….My statement for now,to you, is that there are many mysteries in life and this is a mystery thay I have no dwelling over….it was my history, but not my lifeboat (remember Caroline Myss said grief is like being on a river in a boat….some people LIVE on the boat on the river…rather than crossing to a new way….)
    I can’t imagine the group grief on the island which should have been peace-filled and happy…..Karma works in mysterious ways…..Wish you’d come to Australia again…..would LOVE THAT…..Des would say hello…but he’s walking the dog…..
    LOve to you and JoAnn…..Patsy

    • Colin says:

      Hi Patsy,
      So lovely to hear from you. There is always scar tissue from any wound, whether it’s flesh or feeling and even though your loss of Eloise is your history, it will always show up in some way from time to time, no doubt. The newspapers have to scratch the itching scar for you occasionally I suppose. I hope they don’t open the case again though. That would be such a drag. Would love to come to Oz again if only to see you and Des. It is time I made the trip but don’t look forward to that long flight. I hit the big seven-O this year! Not so young as I was, but still going strong. Maybe 2013 we’ll make it down there.

  2. Hello Colin,

    Yes, this will take time…
    Meanwhile, living in Denmark – neighbor to Norway – I find it remarkable how the entire atmosphere around this incident is of love, care, compassion for each other.
    Thousands upon thousands of people show it in all kinds of ways.
    Politicians and the royal families express it with much heart and little rhetoric….
    There is a general consensus and commitment to our deepest values rather than anger and revenge.
    So even if it’s not forgiveness yet the foundation for it is there already.
    It’s a good sign — for the living…

    Warm greetings –


    • Colin says:

      Yes, Halina, a great outpouring of love and compassion has been offered to those who suffered the great and tragic loss, but in spite of everything that he did, we should also try to send our love to the crazy messed-up human being who caused so much suffering. If we can open our hearts and feel compassion for him, we may heal the parts of us that are messed up and prone to resort to violence (or support it as in wars) when things become difficult. He represents a big chunk of our own shadow.

  3. E Lawson says:

    Is that really what Dumbledore says in the movie? I don’t remember him saying something that so radically departs from the book. I think his line was more similar to what he says in the book which is “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living. And above all, pity those who live without love.” I would think this would lend itself to radical forgiveness even better….for surely the shooter has lived without love to be so.


    • Colin says:

      I apologize if I misquoted Dumbledore. I do not have the book and I had only my memory to rely on in that moment and it is not always dependable. I left the other part of the quote about living without love because I don’t presume to know whether the perpetrator had experienced love or not in his sorry life. But I do believe he is worthy of our love, no matter what he did. His soul is pure love no more or less than any other.

  4. Susan says:

    I lost my son tragically and it is possible to realize in THIS lifetime that there is no death. In fact, I believe it was part of what my son came here to teach me. I do not pity the family and survivors, but I do have compassion for them. It is my prayer that they come to experience the eternalness of life and know that no one is ever ‘gone’. They are just beyond the veil of our illusion.


    • Colin says:

      Hi Susan,
      I agree that compassion is by far the better word to describe our response to what happened than pity. I only used it because it was used in the film, but you’re right, if we pity someone, we see them as victims and that’s not how we we would want to hold it. Thanks for pointing this out.

  5. Lisa Butler says:

    Hi Colin,

    I was thinking about this very thing when I heard about the terrible events in Norway. It is always harder for those left behind, no matter the circumstances. We are the ones left with the memories of joy and heartache, and when the death of a loved one is brutal and premeditated as in Norway, I can only try to imagine the feelings that family are left with.

    We are the lucky ones. We understand that this life is little more than an illusory moment. We understand that we are non-physical energetic beings having a physical experience and that the realilty is not this ‘life’ or ‘death’, but the pure perfect universal energy from which, if we maintain our connectedness, we thrive. Some of us choose to work in fields that allow us the opportunity to teach this knowledge to others, so that they too may live in peace with all the circumstances that surround us as we journey on – sometimes without the loved-ones we cherish – until we meet again. For me, as for you, its a blessing and a privilege I appreciate and am passionate about.

    For the people of Norway, and the citizens of the world, the best thing I know I can personally do and teach, is to continue to focus on the beauty and positive aspects of human being-ness that is within us all – that greater non-physical (soul/energy) part of us that remains forever perfect and whole regardless of our (or another’s) actions. I think this is where true personal growth, community healing and universal expansion begins.

    Lisa Butler

    • Colin says:

      I agree with you Lisa. It is a blessing and a joy to bring this understanding to people who need to hear it, especially those who have suffered the loss of loved ones in tragic circumstances. Thanks for your wonderful contribution.

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