Earlier last week, I had a hard time relaxing enough to sleep. Restless. Mind searching and scanning all the info absorbed about the recent events in Dallas… you know. I needed to paint and sing a little and this old song came to mind:
“Just look out around us
People fightin their wars
They think they’ll be happy
When they’ve settled their scores
Let’s lay down our weapons
That hold us apart
Be still for just a minute
Try to open our hearts.”
(some lyrics from More Love, by the Dixie Chicks)
I recorded this song because I felt the lyrics just fit so well with the state of the world. Then I hesitated when I was about to post. I had doubt of sharing what I was feeling, doubt that my words and song were not good enough to share and doubt that this just wasn’t the right time. I waited a week. Then TURKEY. Then FRANCE. Then threats of the so called “day of rage” in my hometown where one of the largest employers in the city sent workers home early because of potential violent protests. I had plans to be downtown that night and we changed them because of fear for potential violence. Our group acknowledged that we were so grateful that in America, feelings of fear like this don’t come too often. In so many other countries, people fear for their safety on a daily, even hourly basis because of their beliefs, their poverty, their government… Thankfully the protests didn’t happen that night, but all over the world backlash and violent reactions to current events spread.
I woke up early this morning wide awake with one clear thing placed boldly on my mind:
“PRAY FOR OUR CHILDREN.”
This message was so clear, in fact, that I was wide-eyed-energized awake at 4am pacing the kitchen to figure out what I could do to settle my mind. I poured a full press of coffee into my mug. Again [like the other night when I couldn’t sleep], I came into my studio and started praying, writing, and making art to ease my mind.
I have a sheet that provides one prayer / virtue for each day of the month to pray about for yours or children in general. Today’s virtue was JOY. The verse was:
“May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
referencing this verse:
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord;
IN SPITE OF SEVERE SUFFERING,
you welcomed the message with the JOY given by the Holy Spirit.”
– 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (emphasis added) –
“Suffering” and “joy” are referenced in the SAME verse. This is the message of light, friends. That we can be certain that JOY will come in the morning–after the night/darkness/suffering/hardship–if we invest our hope above, not down here in our broken humanity.
I invite you to show your children LOVE amid the daily witness to suffering on the news and around us. I invite you to shower your children with examples loving your enemies. I invite you to show your children what it’s like to be JOYFUL despite suffering and rest your hope in the message of scripture. It is NOT easy, but with the help of a greater power, it IS possible.
TWO WAYS to spread some love:
1. READ this post on LOVE and see what it means and how to share more of it.
2. PRINT THIS, cut it out and drop these little cards all over the place.
Give your children some to hand out. Give your co-workers some. Give your enemies some. Want to go further? PAIR the cards with small, random acts of kindness. I’m going to try it, too.
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another.
In the same way I loved you, you love one another.
This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—
when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13-34-35 (MSG)