I ended the 2011th year of our Lord wondering about the state of humanity. Where is the peace, love, and compassion that we all desire, that we all confess to reach for? Where is the basic decency, even?
What kind of a world do we live in, where someone deems it okay to solve a barking dog dispute by poisoning the dogs? Those yappy little dogs drive me crazy, too, from time to time, but it is not okay to kill. A dog does what it is allowed to do. The solution needs to be taken up with the owner, not from killing the innocent animals. It is said in dog training classes that it is actually the handler that is being trained, and I believe that is true. Dogs are very receptive to their owner’s behavior. They are eager to please. Why can’t people learn something from dogs, in that respect?
A friend tried to kill himself recently, over a young woman. When asked why she had been so cruel to him, that girl showed her true colors, “Maybe next time he will do it right.” We cannot stop ourselves from falling in love with the wrong people sometimes. We cannot help our overwhelming desire to love them despite themselves. We cannot help but want to fix them, once we do wake up and realize that they are no good for us. But why do people have to be so cruel in the first place? Weren’t we all given the ability to love and care, to show compassion and empathy, to learn and grow from our own mistakes and misgivings?
The newspapers and TV news programs are full of the evildoings of humans. Rape. Murder. Assault. Robbery. Arson. Embezzlement. Bombings. But why must evilness be so prolific? Do the evildoers not feel that twinge in their chest, that gnawing in their gut that tells them they are crossing the line?
Where is the love?
It took a while to search my brain for examples of God’s love, worked through people. It took too long because of all the negative influences we typically surround ourselves with on a daily basis. Those news sources I mentioned earlier. Reality TV, where backstabbing and fighting are glorified. The internet, where there is an overabundance of lies, scams, and other negativities. Information overload.
The love is in the simpler things of life. A smile from a stranger. A shared laugh with a friend over a cup of coffee. A homemade pot of caldo de rez from the neighbor, when I am at my worst. The nurse at the hospital, who spends that extra time to make sure you understand what is to happen next, so that you don’t feel lost and alone at a very scary time.
The compassion and empathy are in the gentle, knowing pat on my hand, when the other person simply has to look at me to know how much I am hurting. It is in the offer to help a friend, before she even contemplates asking. It is in the “just being there” actions we often forget to “do” because we are so busy trying to fill each minute with action, noise, and clutter. Silence is golden, after all.
The decency and humanity are in all of us. It can be nurtured. It can blossom, even from the worst conditions. Despite all the negativity around us, I believe we all deserve love. I believe in the goodness of the human race. Deep down, we all have good in us.
May you be blessed in this New Year. May you find the peace that seems so elusive. May you know the joy of true love and friendship. May you feel the compassion of others. And may you be all these things for someone else.