September — What a Month!

Hi and Happy last Monday of the month.  How did that happen?  How have I not written but one other time this month?  Why has the time been flying so fast?  We have been super busy with homework, PTO activities, family business, a business trip, writing a story, and much more.

We have been making some great memories and going about the business of living, but I keep forgetting to log onto this site and write.  And, I miss that.  I am going to do my best to write more frequently in the future, but realize that things may come up again.

We watched several Star Wars movies this month and that was fun.  Although a quote in the movie when Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side of the force gave me chills. “If you are not with me, you are my enemy,” he says.  We stopped the movie to discuss this with Ian and are glad that we did.

We are thankful that he is learning that disagreements and different opinions are okay.  And, that we are to respect others as they should respect us.  Also he is learning how to treat others, to have compassion, to be caring and kind, and to love.

As with most children, he hasn’t learned to hate others or to mistrust them because they are different.  We are doing all that we can to help that from ever happening.  Listening to his insights, his opinions, and how he feels about issues has been a real blessing this month.  Our almost 10-year-old is developing into a lovely young man.

Also we have been concerned and worried about our loved ones and those we don’t know who have been affected by the recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires.  So much going on in nature and with catastrophes that we cannot believe keep happening.

We have heard a lot about climate change both that it exists and that it doesn’t.  No matter which way you believe, I hope that we can all become better stewards for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, strangers, and our planet.  The fact that more devastating storms keep occurring should give us pause to think if things can be done better.

In the last month, we have seen the best in people and we have seen the worst.  We have seen people reach out to help strangers.  We have seen people walk through standing water to save others from their home.  We have been brought together by common problems and have realized that we are in this together.

We have also seen people stealing from those who lost so much.  We have seen threats of violence and harm to others, we have seen hate, we have seen violence, and we have seen the worst in humanity.  All of this saddens me greatly.

We have talked a lot with Ian about these two extremes.  We have talked about how wrong it is to harm and bully others, how important it is to show kindness, caring and love to everyone he meets.  We have talked about so many things with him and he has been listening, asking questions, and sharing his thoughts.  It has been an amazing blessing.

We continue to talk about the fact that just because someone in leadership tells him how to think that he has to believe it and go along with it.  He doesn’t.  There is entirely too much of that going on these days.  We instead want him to think, mull it over, ask questions, and then decide if he agrees or doesn’t.  We live in the land of freedoms to think and believe as we see fit.

Recently I have been wearing a button that says “Think.”  I want to spread the message that we should each use our own brains to think, to reason, and to decide what we believe.  We should research, pray, read, and discover why we believe what we do.  We should not be treated like cattle with no brain of our own or no way to reason for ourselves.

My prayer is that we remember to show compassion for others, to realize we all have struggles that we are dealing with, that we all have feelings that can be crushed or supported and, that we are all of value and worth knowing.  And, to remember to always, always, always love.

Only Love Can Drive Out Hate

You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
 
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
 

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully taught!

This song is from “South Pacific” and I have been thinking about it a lot this weekend.  Aren’t the words amazing?  They often give me chills since they are so insightful of how many people feel.  Whether someone is taught to feel a certain way, grows up hearing how awful others are, learns on their own, or decides to hate, it is still wrong and needs to stop.

Those who don’t hate must stand up against it.  Instead of hate, we must show love and that all of us are special, all of us are worthy of love, and all of us matter.  After the shock of this homegrown terrorism and hate, I am trying to make some sense of it.  And, I can’t.  I don’t understand wanting to beat up or kill someone who thinks differently than I do.  Or looks different than I do.

Instead, I want to chat with different people and find out about them, their interests, their loves, their struggles, and what means something to them.  I want to show love and kindness instead of the hate and violence that we saw this weekend.  And so does Ian.  Above he is pictured with one of his dear friends.  We were being arty with the photo.

The people behind the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence are involved in groups that have been around for years and have spread hate and racism for far too long.  The KKK’s mission is to harm, beat, intimidate, scare, terrify, lynch, and kill African-Americans.  The Nazis wanted to annihilate all Jews and make them cease to exist. They tortured them, tore them from their families, made them starve, destroyed their homes, property and livelihood, and gassed them to death.

And yet people still want to be involved in these groups?  They want to belong, and carry out the mission to bring harm to others, just because?  What the?  I am sickened and saddened to think of all of the people who have been harmed and killed by such evil.  I am touched that so many fought and died to make changes and try to stop these acts.  I am saddened that people feel that these are still good groups to join.

I just don’t get it.  I truly cannot relate to this level of hatred toward one’s fellow man.  After all, we are all human, all created equal, and all equally loved by our creator.  So, how is this hate possible?  How can someone loathe others so deeply and so violently?  How can people cause such harm, suffering, and loss to others?

Thankfully, I was taught the value of everyone and had friends of different shades, different races, and different religions.  I learned from them and loved them.  And, I am thankful that Ian’s friends are all colors of the rainbow.  He likes them for their personalities and that he has fun with them not anything external about them.

The title of this blog is in reference to a quote by the amazing civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only love can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Dr. King knew that demonstrations could and should be done, but in a peaceful manner without harm to others.  He spoke many times of dreams and hopes for the future.  He spoke of love, caring, and compassion and knew that hate wouldn’t get us where we need to be.

The full quote by Dr. King is “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.”

My hope and prayer is that we can come together at this difficult time of our country and stand together.  That we can realize we have more in common than not.  That we are all colors of a lovely rainbow.  That we can learn from different faiths and different ways of life.  That we can love and not hate.  That we can have peace and not violence or war.