Nonviolence requires putting down my own weapons first

by Angela - on December 15, 2012

I did not handle it well. I burst out sobbing and it kept happening throughout the day. My usual practice is to pray; in my world, that means quietly turning to God, that divine presence of Love that forever abides in each of our hearts, and ask, “Well, what do You say about all this?” But I felt blocked from doing that yesterday. Rage, disdain, grief, and yes, fear and all its What Ifs choked the willingness to be humble right out of me. Or so it felt. I even had these horrible thoughts, how can we help children [as so many of us have been called to do] when we can’t even protect them at school? And there were more horrible thoughts, but that’s not the point.

I searched for who to blame; the list I came up with was long (I’ll spare you the deets).  I wanted to have the Gun Control Discussion NOW so that I could convey the rage, disdain, grief, and fear I was feeling. [OH. You mean like someone who would go to a school, a mall, a parking lot, and try to convey their rage, disdain, grief and fear with a gun? ] Gently, softer and more powerful thoughts began to dawn. My husband’s full time job yesterday was providing comfort and empathy, letting me talk and reminding me what we both know. He posted on Facebook, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” I let those words wash their light over me. I could do something; I can do something everyday. Not respond to or with rage, disdain, grief and fear, not let those become who I am, not let those inspire my words. Yes, have the Gun Control Discussion, and all the others that need to be had, but not out of rage, disdain, grief and fear. Out of compassion, intelligence, empathy, respect, tenderness, eagerness to learn. All of those are childlike qualities. The best way to honor those sweet children at Sandy Hook and all our children is to express those qualities like a floodlight when the darkness encroaches. And of course, if I cherish non-violence, I must not respond either out of violent feelings or with violent words.

It’s been said if you want to change the world, change how you think about the world; to me this is how peace reigns in the world…it starts with me, how I see the world and how I tenderly nurture it in my thought. It’s the only way I can function today as I go to write for children, reminding them that life is fundamentally good, that the light always beats out the darkness and that their qualities are relevant, needed and worthy.

I’m embarrassed that my first response was to be overwhelmed by feelings of violence. But this is a learning and growing time for all Americans; we have some very hard discussions up ahead. So let’s show how much we value our children by emulating their innocence, affection, tenderness, eagerness, and spontaneous joy as we begin individually with ourselves to manifest earth’s natural state: peace.

I’m grateful to God who is present in every heart, showing us the way to love and revealing what is true despite the horrific images presented about the nature of man. I’m so grateful for you (whoever you are reading this), my family, my friends, my church, and the millions of strangers I don’t know. Thank you for all that you are doing to manifest peace and light and love. It is working.

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