Last week was a very difficult week. I don't say that lightly... the week was hard. More injustice seen, more cruelty experienced by those I love and some by myself as well. I found myself mostly feeling sick, anxious, scared, angry, and hurt: none of it is new stuff, or none of it is from new players...but anger and revenge have been expressed in new ways, and more information has come about injustices and wrongs done. I have felt literally attacked by darkness, and pretty powerless to do anything about it. But there is one thing I do choose. There is one thing I choose. And in that I have felt empowered and this evening (or morning, since it is the wee hours of the morning as I write this), I finally can say with conviction and truth that I feel some release, feel God's strong presence again standing with me, feel strength and the courage to say, "in spite of all this, I continue, and I will continue to live with joy and hope." The choice that has made all the difference, the choice that continues to make all the difference - that one choice is love. From a place of faith and belief in a God who is love and who teaches and calls us to love, I choose love.
I can't always do this. I wrote in one of my articles about forgiveness that there have been a couple times in my life when I have been so deeply hurt and angry that I have failed to forgive right away or to act with compassion quickly enough, when I lashed out (with directly spoken words only!!) in response to hurt. Those couple times ended badly. I regret that, I repent those occasions in the truest sense that I made amends as best I could and made/make a commitment to choose a different path. I learned from those experiences that it damages me and everyone involved when I do choose to speak in anger (even if what I say is true, there are good ways to phrase "truth" that do not involve attacking the other). But, thanks be to God, that is not where I am right now. Right now I am able, with God's help, to choose love. I continue to pray daily for those who are choosing to do damage to others, or choosing to hurt my loved ones and/or me. I pray for them good things...all good things. I pray for them healing, most of all, but also wholeness and lightness and peace. I pray for them strong relationships and a sense of deep love. I pray for them. And in doing so my heart is lightened. As I have said before when I can put myself in their positions and really feel with compassion their pain and need I can pray with love. Then my anger is released, my hurt dissipates, and each moment becomes a moment to be thankful for life, for breath, for friends, relationships, community. Each moment becomes a moment of grace. Each moment I live, really live.
I choose love. I don't choose to lash out. I don't choose anger. I don't choose revenge. I don't choose to engage the darkness again, and sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to step away. There are things we can't fix directly on our own. And in those cases, we turn them over to God for healing and care.
There is great strength and power in saying to the darkness, "I will not let you carry me down this path into anger, revenge, hatred. I will not let you damage my soul or even my day's peace. I am hurt, but even in the face of that pain, I choose love." It is empowering and life-giving to do this. It deepens my connection with the Spirit and with others. It calls me to a new way of seeing life and being engaged in the world that feels more positive and hopeful. I am deeply grateful for the ability to do this, for the strength from God to do this, for the faith that enables me to step forward into this.