No, you are not going to be arrested for saying “God bless America” or for going to whatever church you go to, or for voting as your conscience dictates. And yes, you can hate whoever you want to hate – so long as you don’t actually cause harm to come to other people or take away their rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – but I would advise against hate. I’m pretty sure hating on people is not going to improve your life in any way. And it’s surely not going to make America a better place.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
“paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.”
Whoah. I was just thinking about a conversation I’d had with a friend – we’d been talking about the marches we were both in last Saturday – mostly how epic and inspiring it was to be part of that – but we also got into a debate about the hate signs and hate speech that some people brought with them to the marches. My friend felt one way about that, and I felt another. And as I was thinking about that conversation this morning I had a kind of epiphany for myself – and I know this is something that a lot of you probably realized long ago – but, for me, it was, like, whoah. Here’s what came to me: I’m against hate – whichever direction it comes from, whether it’s from the left, right, or upside down; I’m against hate and mean-spiritedness.
And the corollary – I’m FOR loving kindness. No matter which direction it comes from – left, right, or in-between.
When I brought my “Love rules!” sign into the march it wasn’t to show support for everyone who voted against Donald Trump – in my mind, the marches were about something bigger than personalities. In my mind, this wasn’t an “us” versus “them” kind of thing. When I joined the march it was to stand in solidarity with folks who are working and praying for justice and equality for ALL people – not just people who voted against Donald Trump.
Not sure I explained this at all well. But when have I ever let that stop me from posting stuff? 🙂
“Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
“Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
In the last several days I’ve been sort of toying with the idea of moving my family and myself to New Zealand. Beautiful country. The Fellowship of the Ring was filmed there. Big mountains. Nice people. They speak English there – which would be convenient.
But then I realized that the issues that we’re dealing with here in the States are the same issues our entire world is dealing with right now – racism, sexism, bigotry, hate. This is global. We are all of us up against the wall and we each have to do our part to heal these problems from wherever we are. We can’t escape this confrontation between good and evil. There’s no place we can go that’s safer than where we already are.
And I found this realization strangely comforting.
Wherever we are – Love is there. Wherever we are – Truth is there. Love fills all space and time. There is no place safer than where I am.
I’m not angry, I don’t hate you –
all that happened then –
the unfairness of it, the injustice –
was a part of the healing. It was
all good – all of it – the people,
the place, the circumstances –
and it led to the healing –
it brought me to the place
prepared for me – a place of purpose
and joy. And I see you now –
and my feelings are benign towards
you. I wish you nothing but good.
How could anger and hate ever
abide where there is healing?
…Love is reflected in love. – Mary Baker Eddy
What the heck is going on out there?! Several of my students are dealing with it right now. A couple of my colleagues, too. Friends on Facebook are bringing it up in their posts. And I’ve also been afflicted by it recently. Actually… now that I think about it… it’s possible that I’ve not only been afflicted by it, but that I have been, unintentionally, the afflictOR on occasion.
We are looking at others as if we’re looking in a mirror. We assume everyone else sees the world in the same way we do and then criticize other people for our OWN faults, foibles, and nonsense. We think because WE are envious or angry or hateful or deceptive or manipulative or bullying or bigoted or frightened, everyone else must be, too. And then we tell other people that they feel this, or they think that, or they believe whatever – when really it is US who is feeling, thinking, and believing the whatever. Sheesh. It’s ridiculous.
Last week one of my students began tearing up as we were saying good bye. The tears welled out of her eyes and became streams. I asked her what was going on, and she told me that her mom had told her she was a loser – had told her that she destroys everything.- that she’s no good. And I was looking at this beautiful, talented, brilliant young person and my heart broke for her. She was believing all these lies about herself!
“Just because someone calls you a chair – does that make you a chair?” I asked her. She shook her head no. “Just because someone calls you a table – does that make you a table?” She said no. “And just because someone calls you a loser – does that make you a loser?” She wiped the tears from her face, and shook her head no. ““Listen to me. If somebody thinks you’re a chair, or a table, or a loser, or whatever – that is HER problem. She’s not seeing things right. You are amazing and smart and talented and beautiful.You are valuable. Say it: ‘I am valuable.’” My student started smiling then, and repeated my words to her. “Say it with conviction!” I ordered. And she did – she was laughing now.
Let’s know this about ourselves and each other: We are not tables or chairs. We are not haters or bigots or bullies or losers.We ARE valuable. We are worthy. We are the sons and daughters of Love, Truth, and Life.
Thou to whose power our hope we give,
Free us from human strife.
Fed by Thy love divine we live,
For Love alone is Life;
And life most sweet, as heart to heart
Speaks kindly when we meet and part.
– Mary Baker Eddy
“Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
If you wanted to convince me that I should see the world in the same way you do, how would you go about doing that? Would you threaten me with hell? Try to out-shout me? Pummel me with your (carefully-chosen) *facts*? Do you think that showing hatred and bigotry towards people who don’t belong to your “team” might persuade me to view the world in the same way you do? Do you think you might so impress and humble me with your keen intelligence that I will want to be just like you?
Intelligence is an awesome tool and I respect people who use their intelligence to find ways to help make the world a safer, kinder, healthier place. Eloquence and wit and humor are all qualities I value highly – and I have great respect for people who use eloquence, wit, and humor to disarm and diffuse haters – on the other hand, I have little respect for those who use their wit to bully others and feed their own egos.
No, if your way of looking at the world doesn’t include love and kindness and generosity, it has – in my opinion – nothing of value to offer me. Facts are cool – I love learning new stuff – but if all you have to offer me are a bunch of facts – well, the internet is full of “facts” and accessible to all of us – I don’t need to convert to your way of viewing the world to get facts. You do not have a monopoly on facts.
Honestly, what attracts me to different perspectives is the kindness I feel from the people with those perspectives – the love I feel coming from them. That is something I recognize as useful to me. If you wanted me to convert to your view of the world – whatever that is – the best way to do that would be to show me the love and good will that come from your way of seeing things.
Of course, the people I MOST enjoy conversing with are those people who don’t have any interest in converting me, or showing off to their buddies, or feeding their egos – the people I most enjoy are the ones I can share with – the people who know how to shut up and listen every now and then, and have the courage to share their own views and insights without thinking their way of looking at the world is the ONLY way of looking at the world.