Friday, December 14, 2012

Go in Love and Peace

Some people go to church to see what they can get from it, what message they can take. I go to church knowing what I will get, knowing the message I will take. I go to church knowing that I will be filled with thoughts of kindness and love and compassion and goodwill. Church, for me, is the source of my light. I am not dismissing the ugly. I am not dismissing tragedy or loss. I am promoting compassion and love. I am promoting a focus on what is good and what is right. Tragedy will happen. So will loss. It is important to address, to acknowledge. But in that same day, in that same space, peace and kindness and love will also happen. And these are no less important. “Go in love and peace to love and serve the Lord.”

I saw today a woman and her children collecting hats and gloves and blankets and scarves for those who have none. Not only did she go through her own closets, but she posted flyers to encourage others to do the same. She sat up barrels for the collecting and carted overfilled boxes of other people’s winter wear to the nearby mission. Her children accompanied her, helped her, and brainstormed ideas to make the next project even bigger. They all will be dishing out pie and salad and mashed potatoes at the same mission very soon. This was not the mother’s idea. This was the idea of her child. This woman was modeling for her children empathy and love and compassion, teaching a concern for others less fortunate than self.

I saw two students offer up much needed end of term praise to a very tired and very stressed instructor. Without going into detail, just know that words like “amazing,” “passionate,” and “exceptional” were thrown like flowers at my feet. I do not have a tip jar on my podium. Kind words are not a requirement toward grade. These came freely from the sincerity of their hearts. I question, at times, whether I am the person for this job. I question whether I am serving or merely getting in the way. I receive my share of punitive words, my fair share of jabs. But words like these, words that feed my energy, words that feed my teacher soul, I clip and cut and post where I can see when I want nothing more than to curl up in a corner and quit.

I saw a very good friend drop everything in her day to answer to the needs of a confused heart over a cup of coffee and some heavy chat. I am not very good at listening. I have my opinion, and I am almost always certain it is right. You may give me yours, I will allow you to do that, to share, because I know that it makes you feel better, but you will not sway me. As such, I can be a bit high maintenance as a friend in need of counseling. To complicate the matter, I tend to surround myself in a shield of strength and light and positive vibes. I am a mover, a motivator. I uplift, encourage, inspire. One cannot do that if one is needy. I remember my first stint as a volunteer leader and counselor. My first thought was what about me? What do I do now? Who counsels the leader? A good friend who doesn’t buy your crap, that’s who. A good friend who knows you enough to know that while others may believe you have the world by the balls, you really are nothing more than that holiday fruit cocktail filled lime Jell-O on your insides, made with too much water and not given enough time to set.

Let me ask, what did YOU see today? What kindness crossed YOUR path? What love did YOU throw out to the world? Did you not? Well. Go now in love and peace. Tell someone what he or she means to you. Give to one less fortunate. Listen to a friend. Thank a mentor, teacher, or one who has made a difference in your life. Show gratitude, compassion, and love. Ease another’s burdens. Fill another’s heart. Be the light. Spread the love.

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