Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 10.54.48 AMInnocents massacred in Paris. Black lives trivialized. Gun shootings. Undesired refugees drowned.

Reactions to recent, horrifying current events run the gamut of negative emotions. Sadness, anger, and blame surface as do ridiculously simple explanations and equally ridiculous solutions.

Underneath our pain lurks unwanted feelings of helplessness.

“No one likes to be helpless,” says my wise, dear friend Arthur, the hospital chaplain. How right he is.

But, while we are seemingly without recourse, we can fight back.

We can make a difference.

We can make a difference with love. We change the world when we live our lives as so long as they are ours to live. We can love what, who, how, when, and where we are. No matter the circumstances, we can always find love.

Make no mistake. I am not advocating a pollyanna policy. Nor am I suggesting surrender or apathy. We still must speak out against that which we know is wrong. But, we can do more. We ought to do more. We need to love more.

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I’m talking about cultivating greater patience, working towards listening better, digging deep and having more empathy. I am telling you that you and I need to be more loving towards those with whom we perceive great differences. And, that we need to be loving towards ourselves.

Even when you and I feel otherwise helpless, we can find love and celebrate the highest parts of our humanity. By living magnificent lives filled with love, we can and we do rob death of ultimate victory. We can fight hatred by living with grace, compassion, and caring.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Do it! Right now make a note of five things that you appreciate. Find five simple things in which you can find joy. Notice five things that otherwise would go unnoticed. Your senses, your lungs, your dear friends and everything that is going smoothly at this present moment. The air you breathe, the water you can drink, your fingers that function, the contents of your pocket or purse, the ground beneath your feet. The people near you. The loved ones you hold in your heart. Become aware of that which you can love. Celebrate it. All of it.

Know that there IS something you can do.

Let us follow the beautiful instructions of the poet Mary Oliver:

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

We will not be defeated as so long as we live out in love.

 

With love,

rB

 

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