Here in America, we’re pretty sure the sky is falling.
A lot of us have quit watching the news, but the fall-out leaks onto us anyway, through well-meaning Facebook buddies and Twitter posts that are more “shout” than “tweet.”
So here it is: a couple of rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics running for the highest office in the land. An unconscious college student raped behind a dumpster; forty-nine beautiful, dancing, happy people killed in Orlando; another lovely man shot by another terrified cop; five men in blue slaughtered in retaliation.
The evil foisted upon us by each other is chilling, and every single day there is a new story.
Does anyone understand that we are doing this to each other? That we are the enemy? The dancing people aren’t gay, the murdered man isn’t black, the cop isn’t white. While we’re at it, Donald probably isn’t the antichrist and maybe Hillary hasn’t earned her striped pajamas just yet. No – we are all just people, we are all just us.
We are all afraid together, and it’s killing us.
Fear is the impetus, the new driving force that has become such a part of our day we don’t notice it anymore. We ingest it by the spoonful with our morning coffee.
So take a minute and think about it. Think about what is being handed to you by the media, your neighbor and the girl at the check-out counter day after day after day.
The first part of conquering it is recognition. We have to know we’re afraid. We’re not angry, or hate-filled, or religious or patriotic – or any of the other hackneyed excuses we slap like Band-Aids over a gaping wound that Quick-Clot couldn’t fix. No, we’re afraid.
We’re afraid when we listen to the news and tally the latest loss of life.
We’re afraid when the Isis soldier encroaches on our social media with another bloody trophy head clutched in his fist.
We’re afraid when the people in the next booth speak a different language.
When we hear a siren, when we see a thundercloud, when we feel a lump beneath our skin that wasn’t there the day before.
And the fear makes us smaller day by day.
The antidote, of course, is love. And it’s hard to even say that, because it sounds like such a platitude.
Try not to see it in pastel colors, soft and fuzzy as a teddy bear. Make it bright in your mind - a noisy, deafening cymbal crash, a massive, rolling wave. Love as a verb. Love as an affirmative action. Love that floats a battle cry, clear and sharp as the rebel yell. Love that storms the beaches, takes no prisoners, conquers and stands firm.
Love that shelters the refugee and shakes the illegal’s hand. Love that doesn’t care if you wear a rainbow, a sombrero or a turban.
Think of it as a grass-roots movement, a refusal to be controlled by the fear-mongers. You can start small, and be absolutely assured that nothing you do in the name of love is ever small. Dragging a tree limb from the road might save a life. Holding a hand can thwart a suicide. See yourself as a vital part of the whole, and then . . . well, act accordingly.
What if we all refused to be cowed ever again? What if we weren’t afraid of Isis or illegals or racists or cops or thugs or internet bullies? Imagine believing that the God in you – the one filling your lungs and making your heart beat - is just as alive, just as whole, in every other person you see today.
Because He is. Believe it.
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