|Public Domain image from photos-public-domain.com|
Meanwhile our society, our nation spins out of control fueled by hate, fear, hopelessness - a seeming lack of meaningful, supportable choices.
I remember gut-wrenching occurrences of the past - quick, sharp shots that left me breathless and staring at scrolling news reports in total disbelief. The morning of the 911 attacks is the first that comes to mind. At these times I pulled myself up out of my disbelieving torpor and said, "You are not doing any good by this, get back to business. Do your job. That's the best way to honor those lost."
Today is too much. "Keep calm and carry on" is not enough. It is long since time to STOP and take a look at where we are going as a society, a people, and as a species. This path we are all on is not working, and this pattern of hate, anger, fear, and hopelessness cannot stand. Must not stand. Fighting anger with anger is not effective. Fighting fear with fear is not working.
A long time friend posted the following thoughts on facebook. He proposes a reasonable first step that each and every one of us can take, every day, to start a groundswell of change in how we respect, and care for one another. Feel like you already do this? Do more. There is no "too much" right now.
|Jason Ganwich, self-portrait|
Yesterday was a tough day for a lot of people. It got me down. I cried watching Alton Sterlings wife speak while her son sobbed "I want my daddy." My heart raced watching the video of Philando Castille who'd been shot 4 times in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter. My perspective on life continues to change and it feels so hopeless at times. The friends and families of these victims who have been hit with such devastating blows, are now forced into a harsher reality coming from one that, for many, was already hard enough.
These events interrupt our realities. We hear them. Perhaps we finally listen. For some, we truly absorb the words for the first time. For others, this is a skipping record which they yell over, "Make it stop!"
No matter the tone in which a plea to be heard is made, we must listen. If it's an angry plea, screw our devotion to good manners. It means we earnestly need to listen and hear and act. How can we respond to such intensity in a way that does not make the situation worse - more emotional, contentious, divisive?
Everyday in our life without tragedy is grounds for gratitude. It would be good for us, I think, to spread that around.
Our hearts break for those who are suffering so much tragedy and loss. Beyond the crucial acts of listening, acting on what we learn from that, and donating to help them survive in their time of immense upheaval, what can we do? What can we do to chisel and chop away at the overwhelming levels of hate and ignorance?
What if, in response to these harrowing events, we countered them with acts of kindness; Random and/or planned.
What if one of our earliest reactions to any tragedy was to seek out someone who needs some help and help them; a random message to someone telling them what you love about them. Buy a sandwich or a coffee with a warm and friendly exchange for that homeless person you often see outside the coffeeshop. What if we cultivated a culture of grateful acts?
The American goals of success in career, monetary wealth, and stockpiling of material items, continue to prove they offer nothing in times like these. "Times like these" are now daily. As society continues to disintegrate (through) hate, violence, selfishness, racism, judgment, and a lack of compassion, it's clear the only answer to making life better for us all is to be pro-active lovers of humanity. There is no law, post-tragedy vigil, (or even act or prayer) that is the single answer. We need to take deliberate action to bring out the best in each other - every day.
My Grandparents, Murl & Verna Nelson, were such good examples of humanity; kind and compassionate. Murl, who lived to the age of 95, never really complained about getting old except when it prevented him from helping others.
Shortly after he died, I was getting my car's oil changed at Jiffy Lube. The young woman working there shared with me that her mother had very recently lost her battle with cancer.
I took a walk while she worked on my car and returned with a cookie and a gift card for her from a nearby coffee stand. I told her I was honoring my Grandpa because it's something he would've done. She teared-up, thanking me, and told me she believed he would be proud.
Pro-active kindness and compassion will spread if we all stay diligent.
We need a love rebellion.
Look, I know this is not a new concept, but just STOP for a moment and ask yourself:
Would you commit yourself to one kind, selfless act a day to another person? Something beyond your normal routine?
Would you be part of a Love Rebellion?
If you started a Love Rebellion in your corner of life, what difference could it have on the world around you? What difference would it have on your own heart?
Then , don't just keep thinking about it - DO IT!
Jason and I are committing ourselves to the Love Rebellion.
Will you join us?