“A love that casts out fear”

Like most of you, I suspect, I’ve had many emotions this week. Anger at the gunman who killed so many at a Florida nightclub — and ideologies of hate. Frustration over how this shooting is being spun. Sadness knowing this will escalate racial, ethnic, GBLTQI, and religious tensions. Lamentation over the unbearable weight of empathy for the families and loved ones of the victims. Prayers for those recovering and fighting for their lives. Prayers for our families. Prayers for our country, our world, ourselves.

In times like these there is no escaping the heat of our emotions. Yesterday, a friend reminded me that the most we can do is “seek out the coolest place in the blast furnace” and allow the heat to be what it will be. We can’t escape the furnace right now; all we can do is allow the emotions and feelings to surround us and penetrate our hearts to the deepest levels. 

In this moment, there is little we can do to change the world. There are things we will do for each other. We will console friends who are in turmoil. We will be gentle with ourselves knowing that a natural response to violence is anger, and we know healthy versus unhealthy responses toward anger. We will turn off the news when we become overwhelmed. We will turn on the news when we need to know what is happening.

We will filter everything this day through the lens of compassion. The day will come to turn toward solutions, action, and brave words. The day will come, soon, for us to stand on the side of love and be counted among those who will counter irrationality with reason, violence with peace, and fear mongering with truth. The day will come to fight for reasonable gun laws.

Today, we may only be able to feel, reach out to those closest to us, and mourn the great loss of brothers, sisters, cousins, and kin who are lost now to the world. Today we dedicate ourselves, again, to our way of being in the world that says “not again will such loss be for nothing.”

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