In Darkness, Let Us Shine Light

My puppy, Maisie, contemplating the awesomeness of the ocean for the first time.

Our Earth is 3/4 water, mostly ocean. Our body is also 3/4 water. Water is life. Water is sacred. Water is where I return when I need to replenish my wounded soul and heart. Is your heart feeling a bit too heavy today? I’m thinking I am not alone. Mine is too.

Friends have said to stop following the news, to get off social media. That it’s all just too much. “It will make you sad,” they say. In all honesty, it does make me sad, incredibly sad. They mean well. They care about me and I care about them. So today I went to the ocean. To get away. While my body went away and felt relief from the salty ocean air, my mind stayed put. It stayed put on trying to make sense of the hate we are witnessing. The amount of hate so many proudly, and publicly share. In my home state I witness the hate for Native peoples who were here long before us. I witness a local mayor who consistently spreads fear among our town and just today shared his belief that immigrants are the cause of infectious diseases. Ring a bell? Reminiscent of Nazi propaganda? There are also people who publicly chant “Jews will not replace us.” It is no wonder that I got an unexpected and rather irate phone call from an old friend the other day. I wondered what led to such a call. I quickly realized, that under my Jewish friend’s anger, was intense fear. Every day I read about more and more violent and hate filled atrocities occurring in our country because so many, including Senators and Congressmen, openly and aggressively demand that we separate and cage families who fled violence to come to our country. We have a president who openly shares his hate for anyone who is not white, male, and powerful. Recent events make it painfully clear that not only do Americans hear him but he is heard world wide.

So, no, tuning out the hate filled news does not take the hate away and the deep pain our souls feel. While time away, especially in nature, will help replenish our energies and determination to continue, it doesn’t take it away. Nor should it. What we are witnessing right now is historic. The hate being so loudly shared and acted upon will go down as one of our darkest moments.

Do I feel despair? If I am being honest, at times yes. But it causes me to feel the need to act. To raise my voice. To do what I can so that I can look my grandchildren in they eye and tell them that I spoke up; that I tried to do what was right. But I can also honestly say that at times I feel overwhelming hope. History shows us over and over again that darkness can give way to light if people rise up against it. Every day I not only see all that makes me sad, I also see the overwhelming kindness that strangers share to those who are being subjected to prejudice and hate. They fill me with hope. Maybe that’s why I keep turning to the news I find on social media. Hope. I desperately need to feel and be a part of the hope.

So the question we must all ask ourselves is, “Which side of history do we want to be on?”

Like the little boy at the end of the book, The Lorax, says, “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. So…..”

Early April I plan to take a trip to Florida to bear witness at Homestead Detention Camp. This is the largest, for profit camp for children who have fled violence only to be greeted by more, in our country. It is not the only one. Because I’m retired I can do this. Care to join me?

May we have the strength to work for kindness to all especially the most vulnerable,

Mary

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