It’s always difficult for me to reconcile why horrific events occur. I can understand acts of nature. Those are a given and we can do nothing about them. What I can not understand, or even begin to fathom, are heinous acts perpetrated by human beings against other human beings.
Once again the media headlines are ravaged with what we are being told is the largest number of civilian deaths in this country at one time, in one place, caused by one person. I won’t even begin to consider why this person did this. I can’t. My mind simply can not go deep and dark enough to understand what would propel a person to commit an act of hatred so complete and so monstrous. For, it was hatred that compelled him to act. Pure, raw, intense, and overwhelming. Whether that hate was for religious reasons, against reasons of sexual orientation, or any other reason you can concoct. This young man chose to hate and in so doing, destroyed countless lives other than those 50 he slaughtered.
I’ve asked myself how we go on as a nation after senseless, abominable, and egregious events occur to innocent people. I’ve asked myself how I can go on, knowing the world I live in is consumed by hatred. I’ve wracked my brain trying to understand what it is in me that gives me the strength to get up and go out into a world every day dotted with so many wrongs that need to be righted. The answer is simple, really.
I choose not to hate. I choose to love. And believe me, it is a choice.
I choose to love and accept people who may think and act differently from me.
I choose to love, accept, and rejoice in people who move through life wanting to make the world a happier place.
I choose to love, accept, rejoice in, and tolerate people who look differently from I do, who sound differently than I do, and who worship at a different church/mosque/temple than I do.
Recently, I heard a statement that has resonated with me every day. You can’t hate someone when you know their story. Think about that statement and consider this the next time you are walking down a street and see a passel of young women. Your first instinct may tell you they are out to cause trouble. Stop to think that they may be walking in a group because they don’t want to get jumped by a gang, or raped. There is safety in numbers, especially for girls and women.
Think about this the next time you see a young man wearing a hoodie and walking with his hands in his pockets, his head bent down: your first instinct may think he intends to rob you and has a gun in his pocket…and he really only has a box of Skittles he’s holding on to and is simply on his way home.
Remember that every religion on earth has at its core one similar doctrine: to love one another. The individuals who have bastardized this covenant are not true religious believers but fanaticals who have their own agenda for individualistic power and greed. They do not believe in a God of love. They believe only in their own twisted and demented concepts and have taken a religion conceived with love and molded it into something ugly and so very wrong.
So, I choose to love. Simply. Completely. Tolerantly. I will not allow others to force their hatred into my brain, metastasizing like a cancer, until I feel as they do: bereft, powerless, and filled with loathing for mankind.
I ask you…what do you choose today? And tomorrow…and for the rest of your life? If we all choose love and reject the hate, soon, I believe, it will fade away and simply die and we will be left with what is pure and right.
So, I choose to love. Today. Tomorrow. Always.
And in choosing love, I know hatred can never, NEVER, win.