Today I wanted to share a very important topic that brings to mind several situations that have occurred over the past several months. We are all aware of the horrific killings in Charleston, SC and the recent trial of the young man who has been convicted of the deaths during the Boston Marathon. And unfortunately I could name numerous other incidents that would fit quite appropriately with this topic, but I will stop with the two presented. If you have been following my postings, you may recall the one entitled “Human Ties that Bind,” where I talked about a bond we all hold universally despite our differences. This posting may have a slight familiarity, but I believe the overall will give you a more extensive look at how we treat one another and the “missing factor” that causes this behavior.
Recognizing both the killings in Charleston, the bombing in the Boston Marathon appear to be relative to hatred, so I believe it is appropriate to look at the “missing factor.” It has been reported the young man in Charleston wanted to start a race war and had been convinced the hatred he has toward African-Americans is justified by things he believes they taken away from his race. I will not attempt to enter into a deep philosophical discussion about race relations because that is not what this posting is about. The bombing that took place in Boston while it was an act of terrorism it definitely was engineered by hatred for a country and the people who live in it. When we allow our emotions to skew our perception of people and we become emotionally charged, the ability to act rationally has been eliminated. Sometimes our perception of people stems from misinformation from misinformed people and we take it as factual. Subsequently, this snowballs as the misinformation goes from one person to the next and before you know it you have a group of emotionally charged people acting on personal opinions and half-truths.
The “missing factor” I am referring to is love. In my book, Poetry in Different Colors there are two poems that lend themselves to this idea, “Is love on Strike,” and “When Love Conquers Hate.” The poem Is Love on Strike speaks to the unhealthy relationships we observe whether it be between parents and children or some other type of relationships. The unhealthy behavior is so prevalent, momentarily we have to ask “is love on strike?” Although we are not able to control those around us, we can be the front-runners for exemplifying a love that can be infectious as we journey through life. The way we react or respond can be the difference between peace and chaos. The “missing factor” of love can create an environment of distress which allows people to engage in such a way that love has been removed or unable to enter because of the hardness of heart. Love doesn’t have to mean best friends but it should exemplify the concern for other’s welfare and well-being. “When Love Conquers Hate” is a poem about a vision that takes place in a dream but for a period of time it seems real that love just may have conquered hate. Through this dream it describes the unity and peace that has arrived among mankind and the ability to embrace and extend yourself to others regardless of their culture, creed, or race. After recognizing the vision was simply part of a dream there is a sense of disappointment but yet hope that this can one day be a reality.
We don’t have to love what a person does or represents but we should love the person despite their shortcomings and flaws. Let’s face it, we all have shortcomings but despite it all people have found a way to engage with us. Love will allow you to look beyond one’s flaws and shortcomings. Consider for a moment if you were to meet a prostitute, you may not condone her lifestyle, but would it really warrant mistreating her, tearing her down or even being hateful toward her. We choose not to be around certain types of people without considering if we take the time to get to know a person, we may be able to walk them to a better and healthier place. We flee what we fear and fear what we flee. If we take the time to get to know someone it is very possible we will find there are certain things we have in common. In finding some commonalities we are able to establish a rapport that can lead to compassion, empathy and love in our discussion. It is easy to speak out of ignorance and fear, but it so important to break down those barriers and try to develop some sense of understanding and to better communicate the issues. People tend to be more receptive when they are approached with humility, meekness and love rather than with anger, hatred or a combative attitude. Let me be perfectly clear, I am not asking that we throw away our moral compass and give up our principles, but simply learn to meet people where they’re at. This could be the first step in finding common ground and a healthy place to engage.