This morning I went to church with my mom. Now, that may seem insignificant to you but we haven't been to church since I was a teenager. We went because we found out that our favorite minister is now preaching at a church that is no longer GUD (geographically undesirable for those not in the know) and we were thrilled. He's a master storyteller (literally) and a brilliant and compassionate man who believes in and preaches peace and love for all people. He is truly one of my biggest inspirations. So, I went two weeks ago when my mom was out of town and was so moved and she wanted to join me this week so we went together.
There are so many things about religion that trouble me and it makes it hard for me to feel compelled to go to a church service, but I could sit and listen to Rev. Michael Williams preach all day long. My mother and I both were moved to tears this morning (which, in all fairness, is not really an uncommon thing for us, but this was different.) as we sat and listened to Br. Michael speak about how we react to those who treat us poorly. He spoke of loving our enemies and of working to not multiply the hurt in the world by reacting to violence and injury with more violence and injury.
It's a beautiful lesson. We cannot extinguish our pain by inflicting pain on others. There is no relief, only more pain. And why would I condemn someone for being cruel as I perpetuate a cruelty on someone else. It just doesn't make sense. As Michael said this morning: Do we want to be the smashers or the healers? I personally hope that I can be a healer.
Granted, I do my fair share of smashing. I know that I have the ability and the occasional inclination to be unkind when I feel slighted, but I intend to treat everyone with love and respect no matter how they treat me. It's an extension of God's love for me, when you think about it. When I screw up, God does not cease loving me. When I curse him for the injustices in my life and in the world at large, he does not fight back. He extends love to me, because that's when I need it the most. And I think we, as human beings, are able and expected to do the same for one another. When people are cruel and injurious, that's when they need the most love. And it's hard to want to extend that love because we are injured and angry, but as we release for others, we feel relief and love for ourselves. And we can move on. And I think there's definitely something to be said for that.
I hope that in the week to come, we can all love each other a little bit more. And I hope that when our neighbors slip and cause us pain, that we can love them just as much and not reciprocate that injury; multiply that hurt.
I love you all.
Have a VERY happy week!