Thursday, April 18, 2013

I See The Light

I see the light.
I see it in our thoughts and our actions. I feel it in our souls and our hearts. I sense it in our hope and our dreams.
There is light there. It may be obscured by darkness at times. But there is light.
The last week has been full of darkness. I've felt the effects of it all. I still feel a sense of anger, betrayal and hurt. There's been a shattering of trust and a shaking of my faith. I want vengeance. I want justice. I want my anger to defend my hurt. My open hand is a clenched fist feeling rage from within.
But anger, vengeance and more negative feelings doesn't fix the pain I feel. Evil only breeds more evil. It doesn't stop it. That clenched fist can punch something, but that usually only leads to a hurt fist - trust me, I know.
So, instead, I have light.
I have the shining examples of the heroes of the last week. I have the inspiration of people's word and actions. I have comfort in a community that feels some of the same pain as I.
I am encouraged that our light is far brighter and more empowering and greater than any evil. That encourages me and lifts me up despite feeling so down.
Just last week, I almost left Facebook. I was tired off all the griping, political propaganda, mindless blather that just filled my timeline with negativity. I was in a bad place and was tired of hearing the world's complaining. It was a "Goodbye, cruel world, I'm leaving you today" kind of moment. I was one click away. And I probably would have done it had it it not been for my need to keep an author page.
So my Facebook page remains. After Monday's bombing, it became my community. I felt their hurt and I took comfort in sharing it with them. It became my platform. I posted words that inspired me and enabled me to seize my day and not let others define it. Maybe it helped others. At the least, it shined a light instead in  a place that lacked it.

I was in New York City last month. I spent back-to-back nights at Madison Square Garden. The people there were amazing. From the parking lot attendant to the ushers and other employees of MSG, they were welcoming, friendly and frankly, a joy to talk with and interact with. It felt so wonderful to feel such kindness and desire to help and share their positive attitudes. It was a gift of grace and made me feel amazing because they gave such kindness to someone they barely new.
It reminded me of the power of love and living to help and heal instead of for blame and negativity. It was proof of what a feeling of community can do to lift up instead of tear down.
Since then I've seen the other examples. Just this week, a day after the bombings in Boston, I read someone griping how President Obama hadn't lowered the flag fast enough. Really? In this moment of mourning, this is what is important?
I read about someone who was disturbed by a stranger tossing a banana peel on his lawn. He proceed to approach them, curse them and disparaged their race - all in a matter of seconds - over a banana peel.
This week, we had the vote on gun control. When it didn't pass, I saw numerous posts of people gloating and mocking the president. It just disgusts me. Is this what we've become?
It is bad enough that our politics and leaders are so polarized that they can't get anything done for the sake of their people, but do we as citizens have to mirror that? As a nation and as humans, we're better than that.
We have so many wonderful things in common - our love, our hope and our humanity. Yet, it is our anger and our disagreements that set us apart. We let that darkness define us. We let our desire for blame and excuses overwhelm our hearts and dictate our actions and attitudes. 
We prove otherwise in these moments. Unfortunately, it takes tragedy like this and our lowest moments to bring out the strength and power of humanity. But it is still there.
A group of my high school friends have already begun plotting out a trip to the Boston Marathon next year in honor of our friends who died on 911 at the World Trade Center. Our answer to our anger and our pain is unity, solidarity and a fighting spirit to honor our friend and brother.
I'm not real good at forgive and forget. My heart doesn't forgive easily and my head forgets very little. As much as I've tried to shine my light and be illuminated by that of others, I still feel that anger, betrayal and hurt inside. This is a personal pain I feel. I still struggle with it. And I expect that I'll fail at times to live this truth.
But I know deep inside, my light is stronger than any dark feelings that exist. And I know that is the case with all of us. The world around us is what we make it. And we can make it right.
I can't make the world safer from bombers. I can't legislate gun control. I can't even prevent people, even those closest to me, from hurting me. But I can be strong. I can be a voice of love, peace and hope amidst a chorus of blame, bitterness and excuses. I can shine a light where it is dark. I can make some joyful noise where it is silent.
I see the light. I see it in me. I see it in all of us. It empowers us to illuminate rather than desecrate.
There will be darkness. There will be evil. But there is also light.

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