Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Evil is for real


Evil is for real. It recently struck a small suburb in Connecticut and ripped a hole in all of our hearts. I can’t imagine butchering an entire class of innocent kindergarten kids…

When this horrid event occurred I was returning home from my second trip to Fargo this week and, like most folks, I found myself fully engaged for 2 1/2 hours. There were many times when the faces of my grandchildren would appear and bring tears to my eyes.

Tristan is in kindergarten, Brock’s in pre-school, Camryn’s in daycare, and Kelci’s in middle school, and they all have my heart on a string. Each of their smiles makes my heart soar and their hugs are worth more than all the tea in China… and their innocence is impeccable. Each is a special child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars they too have a right to be here… and their exuberance replenishes my soul.

So as I pondered this horror I couldn’t help but be grateful for a book that Sister Wanda Petrowski gave me a few years back as a passage seemed to fit. The book is titled “The Ladder” by Edwin Hays, and it is indeed my favorite book. Anyway, here’s what he had to say in a vignette about children being torn away before their time. It’s titled “The Lamb:”

“One afternoon a flock of gentle sheep was grazing when the lookout sheep cried out, ‘Look the priest from the temple is coming to visit us again.’ All the sheep raised their heads to look at the distant approaching figure. Several of the older sheep exchanged fearful glances with one another and then just as quickly smiled as the little lambs cried out, ‘The priest, the priest is coming to visit.’

“When he reached the folks the holy man spread his arms in greeting, ‘My little lambs you are so beautiful and pure. Ah, my little lambs you are so precious, so precious.’ As the little lambs jubilantly crowded around the priest, each longing for his personal attention, his greedy wolf-like eyes carefully examined each of them.

“He reached down and picked one of them up, ‘So pure, so innocent, my dear one,’ he said softly stroking its soft white wool. ‘You don’t have a single blemish… you’re perfect!’ The little lamb’s eyes grew large with gratitude and admiration for the priest. The lamb’s playmates regretted their small blemishes, secretly wishing to be perfect so the priest would single them out for his praise and attention.

“‘Yes, my little one, you and I will go home together,’ the priest said as he hoisted the lamb around his shoulders. The little lambs not selected became bloated with jealousy as the priest departed the flock. The parents of the chosen lamb however were grief stricken. Yet they were powerless to prevent him from carrying off their child. Several elderly sheep knew their pain, since the priest had previously selected a young child of theirs and taken it away.

“Grief drained all life from the lamb’s parents as the priest, with their young child over his shoulders, disappeared over the ridge. A great storm of anger and rage howled in their hearts at being unable to prevent what had just happened.  An elder sheep tried to comfort them. ‘Chosen,’ said the old sheep, ‘in your pain know that your child was chosen.’

“In one voice the parents gasped, ‘Chosen?'”

Life is a gift and the best thing we can do is build islands of health around us in hopes that they will ward off the evil that’s lurking out there…

The Master said that loving one another is the best weapon we have so it seems to me that we gotta get better at figuring out how to use it… good luck to ya…