Sitting down with the blinking cursor this morning is hard for me. Over the weekend, my heart was broken. I felt so much sadness, compassion, fear and even anger.
First, the devastating news on Saturday morning that 22-year-old Christina Gimmie was gunned down, following a concert my sister and nephew attended in Orlando Friday night. Then waking to the Sunday morning news of the mass shooting at a night club, just around the corner.
My sister’s city is aching in pain.
With so much darkness in the world, it’s natural to feel afraid. To worry about what things are coming to. To wonder what will happen next.
It’s natural to want to get loud and defensive, to puff up and stand “strong”.
But last night I found myself following a few conversations on twitter that both angered me immensely, and simultaneously broke my heart. I watched people who are working hard to further causes they believe in, name call, bicker, and even slur hate towards complete strangers out of their own pain, in the aftermath of the weekend.
I’m becoming a pro at spotting that kind of pain.
Because that’s how I often show it. When I’m feeling hurt, insecure and scared, I don’t usually cower. I don’t back down, or whisper. Nope, I get “bigger”. I buck up and put my foot down. I fight and defend. It usually leaves me feeling worse than when I started.
That kind of reaction leaves only regret in its path.
Watching the hate and violence unfold in the media lately has been building this burden in me to love more, to whisper more, to show up brighter and brighter. And not only on the big issues we’re facing in politics, social justice and humanity as a whole.
But in the micro-issues of my own life as well; how I show up to love my husband, family and friends.
If I buck up and show only strong, loud, anger when I’m hurting, I continue to feed the descending spiral. I model darkness and division. But if I can find a way to show up humbly, with love, for all humanity as equal, I model light and love. If I can quiet my shouting to a whisper, I can drive out darkness, a little at a time.
So can you.
Together, we can drive out darkness with light and love.
If only we will.
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
to more love,