Greetings from a cool Sunday evening in San Francisco, where I’m writing this short post to just spread a little joy and hope in the wake of a very rough few weeks of media.
As a result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, one of my immediate reactions was to turn inwards, and ask myself what I could have done differently, and what I can do more of, to spread the kind of message that represents the America I believe in and love dearly.
The interesting thing about liberty, is that it implies choice. Wherever there is freedom, there are also decisions to be made. For example, what kind of life do we want to live? What legacy will we leave behind? Of course, these things are not entirely up to us. My life and world are constantly changing, and sometimes all I can do is struggle to keep up. But, whenever I’m feeling weary or lost, I always return to this:
Make me an instrument of peace, where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon, where this is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, where there is sadness, joy. That I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life -Prayer of St. Francis
An instrument of peace is beautiful idea. Being a source of safety for those who are in fear, or a bit of light for those who are in the dark; those are things I can do.
Love is a revolution in scale, a revision of magnitudes; it is private and it is particular; its object is the specificity of this man and that woman, the distinctness of this spirit and that flesh. Love prefers deep to wide, and here to there; the grasp to the reach. It will not be accelerated, or made efficient: love’s pace is its pace, one of the fundamental temporalities of mortal existence, and it will not be rushed or retarded by even the most glittering pressures of service or success. Love is, or should be, indifferent to history, immune to it — a soft and sturdy haven from it: when the day is done, and the lights are out, and there is only this other heart, this other mind, this other face, to assist one in repelling one’s demons or in greeting one’s angels, it does not matter who the president is.
Leon suggests love is indifferent to history. So whatever hate or divisiveness I encounter, I find at least some comfort in knowing that compassion and love are forces that far predate politics. Love is primal, and will continue to thrive no matter the external circumstances.
I’m proud to live in America because Americans have always been people who fight for their beliefs. Liberty alone does not know right from wrong, it only offers choice. You and I are the ones who then must decide what to do with that sacred liberty.
So, wherever there is hatred, I can choose to sow love, and where there is doubt, I can choose hope. I never pretend to possess the power to change other people's minds, but I always have the power to change my own.