Yesterday I was unaware as I blogged about a wonderful time with my daughter Faith, that my city was experiencing one of its greatest tragedies. A man, armed with a gun entered a Planned Parenthood building just miles away from my home, and killed three innocent people. Nine others were injured in his rampage and countless others have been scarred by violence occurring so close to the safety of their home.
None of us know why this man did what he did. Perhaps, someday, the details of his twisted thinking will come to light. I am sure though, most of us will never fully understand how anyone can inflict such pain on others. And yet, over and over again, throughout the world, we see men and women doing just that.
Our world is broken and in desperate need of an enduring love that transforms hearts and minds. Our world is broken and in desperate need of hope. Our world is broken and this brokenness begs the question of what, can we as individuals, do about it?
I argue, we are not helpless. We can, and must be carriers of God’s transforming peace and love.
Each of us has our own little sphere of influence. Perhaps you have a voice with moms in your kids schools, or with coworkers at your place of employment. Maybe you has opportunities to share kindness with your neighbors or to bring a smile at the local coffee shop. You, me, WE have the chance to change someones day by choosing enduring love, compassion and peace instead of anger, rage and hatred.
Oh how I hear the naysayers now, “Nancy, how can kindness, love and compassion change a mind that is hopelessly deranged?”
My son James, who I often write about on this blog, struggles with mental illness. At times, his burden is light, but other times, the crush of his minds battle takes him places I would never wish on anyone. The pain, despondency, hopelessness and anger are mind-bending and horrifically overwhelming. When he is in those darkest of dark places, I am painfully aware that his actions are not always within his control and that violence can and will bubble to the surface. Voices fill his mind and demand he does things he would never do on his own. IT. IS. FRIGHTENING.
Everyday I live with the knowledge that my sweet precious son is potentially one psychotic break away from a horrific tragedy. And yet, my love for him compels me, drives me, and pushes me to never, ever give up on him. A wonderful, loving and tender-hearted young man at his core – his minds brokenness can turn him inside out and upside own before we even know what is happening.
Yes, of course, we have medications that balance him. He also goes to incredible counselors who help too. But, the bottom line is, when the voices come and the rage fills his mind, the one thing that returns James back to gentleness and hope is a steadfast experience of our tangible unconditional, and unwavering love for him.
Honestly, that love doesn’t always come from me. God, living in me, gives me a love for James beyond my own. So, when I’m tired, worn down, discouraged and just utterly done, there is still more loving overflowing ready to pour into him.
So, yes, when I talk about love overcoming darkness beyond what we can understand or imagine, I come from a place of truth. I know this love – I live with hope for my broken son because of this love. I know it is this type of love that can and will transform, heal and renew.
In the coming weeks, those of us who live in Colorado Springs will hear more about those who lost their lives at Planned Parenthood and also those who were injured. We will also likely hear more about the man, who consumed by darkness, brought terror to many yesterday. We will all have a choice seeking out God’s love and truth as we process our pain or, to let darkness and hatred consume us more and more.
The choice is our. Let’s choose well. We can do this. We can bring God’s light and love to the lost, the hopeless, the confused and embittered. We can change our neighborhoods, our schools and businesses. Together, we can extinguish the darkness that seeks to devour and consume us all.
I’m in, how about you?
PS – Please take a moment to share your thoughts with me — How do you over come darkness through love? I would LOVE to hear from you!