Who is NOT devastated by Orlando? I can’t imagine, unless perhaps you have lost touch with your basic humanity. And we know some people have. But not all. As history repeats itself again, another mass shooting rages on in even bigger number, the response is still the same: Shock, horror, unspeakable grief. But then….
THE LOVE COMES STEPPING OUT!
Stronger. Fiercer. More resolute. More people. More together.
Like millions of other citizens of Earth, each time this happens we struggle to make sense of the Why?
Here’s what I believe for sure. It’s not about gay (though that was the “excuse” this time for the mass carnage). It’s not about the guns, though we’ll argue about that too. We know extremism that destroys is NOT a faith at all. Because faith is about enduring, struggling, persevering, and ultimately proving the worthiness of the faith you profess. This IS simply the EVIL that resides in one’s heart and finding religious words to justify the barbarism of one’s heart.
Terrorism at it’s core is COWARDICE. It’s a liar’s glory. Yes, we will remember the act. But history and people will forget your name as if you never existed. We have no need to remember you. This so-called “faith act” is actually the lack of stamina for figuring out how to be a resident of earth with people that are different than yourself, which NEWSFLASH: That’s everybody!
I repeat: It’s not about the guns, the LGBT community, or God despite the coming arguments about all of that.
We are living in a day where there are two ways of simply choosing to BE:
Good. (To LIVE)
Or Evil. (To inflict DEATH: LIVE spelled backwards: EVIL)
It is the yin-yang of humanity. It spans across religious beliefs, orientations, and above all it spans across time.
I’ll leave to the philosophers and pundits and religious leaders as to why evil exists. I have my own beliefs anyway, as do you.
Here’s what I need to tell you:
I don’t care if you are black or white or Asian or any combination of any races. When I look at you, I FIRST see you, before your color. I see kindness or attentiveness or arrogance or anger before I see simple things like brown or black or white or orange.
If you are in a wheelchair, or old, or deaf, or missing limbs I see that as an attribute perhaps of your physical body, but I see YOU first. You are a soul. You are a living, breathing human being who wants to live and be loved, and to be respected. I pray I always greet you in the manner that knows I see you as the individual you are.
I don’t care if you are gay or straight. Your sexuality does not impact my life any more than mine impacts yours. I will love you and cry with you and hold you no matter what when you grieve. In this crazy mixed up world these days, your identity issues are the least of my issues. I’m too busy struggling with my own identity as a friend, a mother, a wife, a Christian, and citizen in my community and as a girl with dirt who has issues of her own. I fall so short. The last thing I need is condemnation or shaming from anyone. You are no different than me in that regard, I have no desire to condemn you. I seek only to understand you, despite our differences. I will treat you with love. Because I care about you, more than your identity. I respect all the parts that make you YOU, we don’t have to think or believe or love exactly alike.
I can respect you as a person whether you are Christian or Muslim or Atheist or New Age or you-pick-the-category. Can you offer me the same respect? Yes? We’ll get along just fine then. We can debate if we so desire. But can we disagree in love? Can we still go home friends? Can we associate without fear that one person is trying to change the other. I realize that is a fine line. Sometimes even in our love for someone, it is misconstrued; it is perceived as unwelcome or intolerance or control. Can we just gently remind each other when it’s time to just call it a day and say, “I disagree, but I love you anyway.” Is that so hard?
I don’t care if you are pro-gun or anti-gun. We have our strong beliefs here. It’s okay if we don’t agree. I love my peace loving-activist friends with hearts as big as the sky, but I also love those who courageously protect our citizens in our cities and those who serve our country fighting in wars that they didn’t choose, possibly by people they didn’t elect. Yet they serve us anyway. That too is love in my book. All the brave hearts that go courageously instead of me make me feel small, yet grateful.
I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat. I admit I’m passionate about some issues in my “category”. But I don’t march lock-step with my party. I’m betting you probably don’t either. We are all diamonds in the rough. We have both flaws, yet are capable of brilliant beauty.
This grace even extends to our politicians too. It’s hard, but think about it. Picture in your mind the politician or several you despise the most for a moment. Are they completely wrong in every area of life, in every decision they make? Do we truly despise another human being because of our profound disagreements that we can’t see even a morsel of truth, or perhaps more importantly a soul worthy of being loved despite polar opposition of belief? That’s a hard one. Yet, are they not flesh and blood as we are?
Think about this. Meditate on this for a moment. If we get all caught up in our vastly differing religious, political, and practical approaches to the solution of evil, we ourselves will first become angry. Then very angry. We will inefficiently argue semantics in rooms, rather then take to the streets and just help. And if we don’t tame the beast within, we too will become the way evil most hopes we will be:
We will begin to rationalize that our identify of self is more worthy. We know more. We are “the identity” who cares.
Isn’t it funny how it’s always the identity “OTHER then ourselves” that is usually the problem; they are the enemy–the EVIL one?
That’s how crafty EVIL actually is. It seeps into our soul, without us even realizing it. “Our” superiority always knows better than “their” obvious inferiority.
In my faith, Jesus said “You will know them by their love for one another,” about Christians and their faith. I get that our faiths can be different. It’s not our identity of anything be it faith, orientation, whatever– that identifies us. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.
It’s how we live our identity in the presence of humanity that truly defines us:
We can choose to be good. We can choose to be kind. We can choose to serve and to help others. We can wrap our arms around them and hug them and love them as if it were our last second on earth. Because you never know when that moment actually could be. These painful moments remind us that good-byes come unexpectedly, quickly, and all too often in unspeakable tragedy–not at all.
This is how I FIRST see you: You are worthy of love. I will approach you with love. All I ask in life, if for you to do the same. And together in life, through unbearable grief, and indescribable joy, we can walk together if you want to. Bravely, together, we’ll walk–hand in hand, over the sea of tears and across a rainbow bridge to a better earth under a vivid blue sky marching onward together, seeking our heaven.
Don’t leave earth without loving others.
CARE •PRAY• GIVE •SERVE •PROTECT •GRIEVE WITH •RESPECT •LOVE •U2ARELOVED