Thoughts on Terror, Peace, and Love

Whether it is the action of a gunman shooting into a crowd of concert goers or a man driving a truck into pedestrians, it is terror. It is terrifying. It is deadly. It makes me want to cry.  And, I want it to stop.

Terror comes in all shapes and forms. There are homegrown terrorists and those from other countries. People of all backgrounds have killed or harmed many people. Whether it is for religious reasons, being fired from a job, a mental illness, or any other reason, it is terror and has consequences for all involved.

Terror in any form leads to bloodshed, lost life, and people who will never be the same again. As a result of violence, people are severely injured, others have to live with survivor’s guilt, and we mourn our loved ones who have been lost. We often have a hard time moving forward.

A gunman firing into people gathered for a concert is just as horrific as cars being driven into crowds of people, or shots being fired at baseball games, or buildings being blown up, or planes flying into buildings, or people in schools, nightclubs, movie theaters, or concert halls being the targets of violence, or home invasions where the robbers kill someone.

So what do we do about it? How can we change things? How can we come together as a country to take care of the most vulnerable of us and protect our way of life? I am not sure but do know that something must be done. I feel for my son and his generation and what they are inheriting in this world, and frankly, it scares and saddens me.

As a society, we have become so divisive, so mean to each other, so intolerant, so hateful, we often lie without thinking, and jump to conclusions without all of the facts. When we act like that and cannot find a way to even listen to each other, how can we expect our children to do any better? We have turned into a world of terrible examples for our children.

Also, many adults don’t seem to care about the importance and sanctity of life. We call ourselves a certain religion but then don’t practice love, peace, forgiveness, graciousness, kindness, or truthfulness. We seem so lost as a society and I am saddened and troubled.  And I want to sit down and weep.

What happened to practicing the golden rule of treating others how we want to be treated? What happened to spreading kindness and love, instead of meanness and hate? What happened to knowing you can disagree with someone without them being your enemy? What happened to our common decency, respect for others, and civility?

What happened to teaching our children the difference between real and imaginary? That playing a game is not the same as a real weapon? The fact is that guns in the wrong hands do kill and/or hurt people. That bullet will strike a person who could die, have life-altering injures, such as paralysis, blindness or broken bones.

Cars hitting people or planes flying into a building are just as deadly and deliberate in the intention to cause harm. I know a little something about being hit by a car and let me tell you it gives me chills each and every time I hear about it.

I was run over in a parking lot with a car that was out of control. It was an accident and the car was going very slowly and three of us were injured. We all lived but things could have been so much worse. I am thankful every day that they weren’t.

I don’t mean to sound so negative or pessimistic, but these are things I am troubled about. I want Ian to grow up in a world where he can trust adults and believe truths. I want him to go out and do things without being scared or fearful of something happening to him. I want him to feel safe at night and know that he will be okay.

As his parent, I will do all that I can to keep him safe, comfortable, loved and listened to. My husband and I work together to ensure a good life for Ian, with lots of love, rules, discipline as needed, and structure.  And, a lot of fun along the way.

I just hope that other adults both in our community and on the national level can help us do the same. It does take a village to raise a child and I want our village to be better, to be more loving and more caring. I want us to help one another and work for the betterment of each other, not just ourselves. I want us to remember that our children need us to be examples of how to act and how to treat others.

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In Remembrance of Me

broken.breadOn Sunday, we had communion at church.  My church serves wafers and wine and the congregation always sings songs while communion is served.  That day, we sang my favorite communion song, “In Remembrance of Me.”

It is a song that reminds us of what Jesus did for us and want He wanted us to do.  He wanted us to love one another as He loved us, to care of each other, and to support each other.

Here are the powerful words:

  • “In remembrance of Me, eat this bread. In remembrance of Me, eat this wine.
  • In remembrance of Me, pray for the time when God’s own will is done.
  • In remembrance of Me, heal the sick.
  • In remembrance of Me, feed the poor.
  • In remembrance of Me, open the door.  And let your brother in, let him in.
  • Take, eat, and be comforted.  Drink and remember too.
  • That this is My body and precious blood shed for you, shed for you.
  • In remembrance of Me, search for truth.
  • In remembrance of Me, always love.
  • In remembrance of Me, do look above, and in your heart, look in your heart for God.
  • Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Isn’t this an amazing song?  It made me tear up yesterday since much of this is not happening anymore.  So much of our society is not living like this or loving like this.  I hope that we can learn to love this way again and remember to care for our fellow men, women, and children.

I am not saying that we do things that could harm ourselves, our families, or our neighbors.  I don’t want that, but there is plenty that can be done, if we just think about the many needs and see what we can do to help.

A few examples: My church provides meals once a month to the homeless.  We rotate with other churches at a homeless shelter.  Last winter, my church had a coat drive and gave coats to those in need.  A few weeks ago, the youth group went to a local store and gave away gift cards on a random acts of kindness day.

As in many cities, there is a need of hungry children.  So the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts go once a month and work with another church in town to help prepare bags that are then delivered to the schools and those who need them.  Ian and I have done that a few times.  We talked about the fact that kids often need food to be sure they have enough on the weekends.

For many years, my family has raised money for a needy family in lieu of gifts for each of the adults.  It is rewarding and has really helped a few other families.  And, after a wildfire in the Smoky Mountains, Dolly Parton held a telethon raising money for thousands of families who lost everything.

Small things can make a huge difference, if only we will work together.  My prayer is that we will.  Just imagine what we could accomplish if we would come together?  I hope and pray that we will consider what we can do to help someone in need.

Love One Another

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“Love is all you need.”  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” “I will always love you.” “Love one another as I have loved you.” 

Love comes in many shapes and sizes.  There are many types of love and many things that define love.  As you know, we just celebrated the big love day of the year, Valentines’ Day. Well, it is a day that stores and restaurants try to make the big day.  We are encouraged to spend a marked up amount on flowers, eat out, and spend a lot on cards.

That is fine but why not enjoy a home cooked meal with our mate and children?  Why not enjoy our own tradition of handwriting a special card?  Why not have both of you sign the same card as Kirk and I did this year? And, why not remember to love and show our love each and every day?

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the fun of Valentine’s Day, the fancy dinners out, and the dozen red roses. There is nothing like that in the early stages of a relationship. But, more importantly, I like when Kirk gives me flowers just because, or has asked if I’d like to eat out after a tiring day at work, or wants to have a date night in the middle of the week.

I also like to do special things for him just because. And I like that we tell each other I love you every day.  And, we tell our son that as well. We also regularly demonstrate love to one other by the things we help with around the house, the projects, and the teamwork.

Before meeting Kirk, I had many years without a special someone. it could be tough at times but I did my best to enjoy time with my friends and family. I also learned to love myself and figure out what I wanted in a relationship. That was a blessing and helped me appreciate my relationship even more.

At the top of the blog, I listed a few quotes about love.  Here are my thoughts on them.

  • Love is all you need.  This is from a great Beatles song that I really like.  To me, we need more than love to have relationships work.  We also need trust, honesty, forgiveness, and patience.  Clearly love needs to be part of it since without it, it is very hard to have the rest.
  • Love means never having to say you’re sorry.  This was made famous in The Love Story movie.  I totally disagree with this sentiment.  To me, love means saying sorry often and as needed. Not so much that it means nothing, but enough to show we realize when we made mistakes.
  • I will always love you. This is from one of my favorite Celine Dion songs and is lovely. I agree that you can always love someone. However, you may not always like them and can get frustrated with them. True love means sticking with them through it all and always being there for each other. And loving unconditionally.
  • Love one another as I have loved you.  Christ told us to do this and I think we are lacking with this at times.  We seem to be a society of mistrust, gossip, and a lot of negativity.  I hope and pray that we can get back to truly loving others and wanting the best for each other.  People often try to take credit for another’s accomplishments or blame people when something doesn’t work out.  None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. My hope is that we can find a way to be more loving and kind.

Love is an amazing gift and something that is rare and precious.  It is to be treasured and respected.  It is to be given freely and without expecting anything in return.  And, it is to be given without condition.

The loves in my life are:

  • My husband who I cherish
  • Our son who is a gift from the Lord and a blessing each day
  • My parents who taught me what love means
  • My siblings and their spouses who I adore
  • My nieces and nephews who I am fascinated by
  • My cousins who I have shared so much with
  • My aunts and uncles who love me like their own
  • My grandparents who I miss each day and loved talking with
  • My in-laws who welcomed me into their family
  • My lifetime friends who I have laughed and cried with
  • My newer friends who I am enjoying getting to know
  • My friends from work, school, and church who are so special
  • My loved ones who have passed and are still missed

I wonder if I will truly remember to love as Christ loved me.  I am going to do my best to do just that.  My prayer is that we all have love and can truly love others.

Honoring Dr. King

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  Today we honor the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What a man he was!  He was an amazing speaker, motivator, and worked hard for equality and freedom for all people.  He and many others changed things and for that I am truly grateful.

As a former speechwriter, I know the challenge of writing words that will inspire and motivate others.  Dr. King had this skill beyond most. He was eloquent, moving, and called people to peaceful action.  I have learned so much from him, his words, and his mission in life.

It is amazing to look back 50 years and see how some were treated.  I have wept at movies I have watched that have brought it all to life and sat stunned that anyone could be treated so poorly.  I realize that there are still things that need changing, but great strives have been made.  I hope we can remember to be kind and loving to all people.

While there is still much to be done with relations between races, I am blessed to have a child who doesn’t see these differences in his friends.  He likes them for who they are, not what they look like.  His class at school is diverse and he knows and likes kids from many varied backgrounds.  I feel so fortunate for this.

May we always remember to be kind to one another, to love and not hate, to bear one another’s burdens, to not judge others, and to practice the golden rule of treating others as we want to be treated.

Some of my favorite quotes by Dr. King are:

  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “Hatred paralyzes life; hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
  • “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
  • “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hatred cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy.”
  • “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”
  • “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
  • “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
  • “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

May you have a blessed day!

(Photography Note: This photo is of Ian and one of his dear friends. I didn’t want to post their entire faces in order to retain their privacy.  Hopefully you can still see the friendship of two close buddies.)