Sorrow - I don't know if there's a single person in America who isn't feeling it today. There is so much unrest, sadness, uncertainty and heartbreak not just in the United States but all around the world right now. Maybe it's the fact that so many unspeakable tragedies have taken place in such a short period of time, or maybe it's just the confusing and terribly sad circumstances behind them, but it just feels like the world is heavier than usual. Not that there's not always suffering in the world, of course there is. It just feels like the hits just keep coming lately. Television, social media, newspapers - everywhere we turn we are met with a running ticker tape of despair. Throughout it all, one thought keeps coming to my mind - I am constantly amazed by the power that one single person can have. Just one person with the intent to harm can completely alter the lives of thousands.
All it takes is one.
But I can't help but wonder... if one person can affect the lives of so many with hatred, what could they do with love? And I'm not referring to a romantic love or even loving people who are easy to love because... well, you actually like them. I'm talking about an intentional love that is bestowed upon all humankind. Not because someone earned it, but because you have decided to actively give it. Choosing to love our neighbors, our teachers, our coworkers, our enemies, and a stranger on the street simply because they are a fellow human being. I honestly cannot think of a single problem in the world that cannot be solved by loving first. Love has inspired people to do great and seemingly impossible things since the beginning. Can you imagine what this world would look like if we just made the conscious decision to love one another? If we all acted selflessly and constantly strove to be kind to our fellow man? There's not a soul alive who wouldn't be touched by that circle of love and compassion.
In times like these it is more crucial than ever that we seek the best in one another and always look for the silver lining, because I promise you it is there. We have to love each other, but we also have to maintain hope. The amazing thing about hope is that not only does it give us the will to carry on, but it also builds up our fortitude over time just before whispering, "Hey... Why are we waiting for someone else to do this when you are perfectly capable?" It's almost like hope sneakily plants a seed within us that we nurture and water ourselves without even knowing we are doing so until it springs right up in our face. By keeping hope alive, we are actually nurturing our own spirit and preparing ourselves to be the ones who makes things happen.
In times like these, I am comforted by the fact that I see that intentional love in action every day. I see it in strangers being kind and courteous to one another, when they have nothing to gain from the act. Every day I hear stories of people making great sacrifices for their fellow man, and then I see the simple ones like a stranger giving up their seat on public transportation because they assume the other person needs it more. The gesture does not have to be earth shattering to make a difference. Even the smallest token of kindness can travel the world, if only we pay it forward. Can you imagine what a remarkable chain reaction that would be?
Despite the strife that is ever present in the world, I truly believe that there is so much love. And if there is one thing that unites us all, let it be the fact that we all have the same enemy - hatred. But hatred isn't one person or system that can be destroyed, it is a teachable skill that can be learned by anyone. But, then again, so is love. Thank God.
The way to bring healing to a hurting world is as simple as it is complicated - Think love. Speak love. Show love.
Maybe the journey doesn't end with those three steps, but they certainly are a great place to begin.