I love Jesus. As Evangelical and American and annoying as that statement makes me sound, I don’t care. I get emotional every time I say it. There it is. I believe that God is love and that we are put on this earth in order to love each other through words and thoughts and actions. ‘Til Kingdom come.
This is sometimes very hard. Especially when people do things that aren’t very easy to love. Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a post which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FGilbertLiz%2Fposts%2F1033035980111850%3A0&width=500” target=”_blank”>
about being kind on the internet and staying away from the comments as they will make you lose your faith in humanity. An extract is below:
“It’s always devastating to witness ignorance and heartlessness, Julia. But you are clearly a sensitive and kind-hearted person, and, as such, I beg you to stop reading the comments section of contemporary newspapers, and I beg you (and everyone) to disengage from participating in, or even reading, Internet arguments. There, you will encounter some of the darkest and most wasteful behavoir in the world. (I mean, wasteful of our stupendous human energy and potential.) Don’t linger where the bottom-feeders lurk, Julia: You can’t change them, and hanging out around them will only put your own compassionate spirit in jeopardy. (As we say in my family: STEP AWAY FROM THE BURNING VEHICLE.) It takes discipline not to tumble into black holes of online aggression and savagery — but such tumbles are voluntary, and thus staying away from the darkness is a discipline you can cultivate. In my own life, I consider it a public service for me for to avoid such shadowy places, because it only darkens my own spirit and then I can’t serve anyone. I would no more hang out around those “chats” than I would attend a public execution. Turn your face stubbornly to the light, and keep it there. Look for love, act from a place of love, work for love, consider yourself a servant to love and a student of love, and you will soon see love everywhere. This is how we begin to serve. Bless you for your kind heart, darling, and please keep your energies safe and bright and strong. We need more people like you, so stay with us.”
I have been trying to practice that particular spiritual discipline in recent weeks. I’ve picked some tough weeks to do it in.
The internet has annoyed me to unprecedented levels recently, so much so that I contemplated deleting my social media accounts.
First it was the tragic incident of the little boy in the gorilla cage when the internet erupted in outrage at the boys’ mother and her “bad parenting” (the father was rarely mentioned, because y’know, Dads just “babysit” they don’t really parent, so all the righteous indignation could be squarely thrown at the mother, a nice bit of media sexism to boot). I don’t even have kids and I know how tricksy they can be, your back only has to be turned for a nano second and they’re gone.
Then there has been Brexit. I am going to preface this one by saying that I am firmly of the opinion that everyone has a right to express their political opinion and vote in the way in which they see fit, so long as they have armed themselves with the facts.
I have been so disappointed by the tone of the conversation around this important political debate. It has been fuelled by fear. The absolute worst was that AWFUL, 1930s Germany evoking, racist poster unveiled by Nigel Farage. Using some of the worlds most vulnerable people to deliberately mis-inform and stir up hatred and fear is just plain wrong and cruel.
Then there was the murder of Jo Cox MP. She sounds like a wonderful woman, a humanitarian, she was an advocate for some of the voiceless in our world, she did some wonderful work on women’s rights, something which is very close to my heart, and now her husband doesn’t have a wife and her children don’t have a mum.
I have thought long and hard about what I have posted, shared and “liked” on the internet recently and have tried to only do so to positive posts that promote love, equality, understanding. I have tried not to read the comments, I haven’t engaged in debates with people whose political opinions are so different from mine and who won’t be swayed by my engaging in that with them, I didn’t say anything (until now) about the treatment of the mother of the boy in the gorilla enclosure.
I have been trying to stubbornly turn my face to the light.
When Jo Cox was murdered I shared this quote from her husband:
“”Jo believed in a better world and she fought every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.
She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion it is poisonous.
Jo would have no regrets about her life. She lived every day of it to the full.”
The only way to beat hate is through love.
I will continue to do my best to speak out with love, with my actions, the sharing of others’ words who are more erudite and wise than I will ever be, and sometimes with my own words, although I’ll be sure to consider whether in doing so it is necessary and whether I am being kind. I don’t want to be silent in the face of hatred and discrimination otherwise my silence indicates complicity and we all know how that ends up.
I went to yoga last week and it always helps me to clear my head and commune with God. I shared this picture afterwards (photo credit: mercimerci.etsy.com):
I honour your soul and your light today and always. Let’s try to keep seeing that in each other, even when it seems so dark.