Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Only Love Can Do That

In this country and in our world today, it can be so easy to become frustrated and angry by what I see and hear. It’s a simple thing to then give in to that frustration and so let it become the lens I see the world through, which in turn, in my opinion, only adds to the anger and frustration in the world.  When I read about or see the way members of our human family treat each other, it’s easy to think that is how everyone treats each other. When the majority of what is reported on in the media is sensationalized (hell, even weather.com  has all sorts of articles about tragedy as if that is all nature produces) and focused upon the negative it can be difficult to remember that I can change the filter on the lens I look through.

I could easily give in to the frustration and despair that there is nothing I can do to change the world around me, and believe me, I have days like that. On those days especially, I have to consciously remind myself that even though it’s not reported in the news, every day, every moment there are people all around the world working to bring peace, treating each other with kindness, creating their world from love. Some are working in big ways like the Dalai Lama or the Elders group and some are working in small ways in their own lives with small acts of love. I remind myself that those small acts of love make ripples. That love moves out into the world and touches others, one person at a time. That’s what I remind myself of, that a small act of love that touches one heart actually touches many hearts. The love that I offer one person, may then remind them and so they offer that love and kindness to another, who then offers love and kindness to another, until one day all those ripples of love reaching out actually meet up as they extend out all over the world and the world is awash in love.

The trick is to not just offer it to those I love, those I find it easy to offer love to, but also to offer it to strangers or to those I have challenges with; to everyone equally. I’m sure I will have days when it’s easier than others, but on those days I will remind myself of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Only love can do that. We witnessed what love could do through the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and countless others who chose love in the face of violence and so changed this country. Only love can do that.

Yesterday, a young man in front of me in line at a store jumped out of line to put an item back and to pick up something else. When he came back he headed toward the end of the line. I smiled at him and said, “Do you want to jump back in where you were?” He looked surprised and grateful and stepped up to the counter. I don’t know what that small act of love and kindness did for him in that moment. Maybe all it did was let him feel seen for a moment, let him feel kindness, let him feel community, let him feel cared for. Only love can do that.  

That is where I will begin. I will remind myself that only love can do that, that it begins with one simple act of love.

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