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Love and Violence

Today the world feels overcome with violence. Mass shootings in a college classroom capture the front page of newspapers all over the country. The questions of how and why and what is to be done weigh heavily. Senseless violence. The report is followed on NPR by a story about Marines who went on a rampage after their buddy was killed by a bomb. They murdered a small village of 24. The killers in both these stories are about the same age, they could have attended the same preschool together.

We don’t want to lump these stories together in our minds, except that they were announced back to back on the evening news- the insanity of violence lives in all of us. Why we hand out guns to so many remains a worthy question. Better still, what will it take for us to realize that if we want to change the world we must begin with what we teach our young.

Leaving the education of love and compassion to families that are breaking down almost as fast as they are forming is not a stable system of communicating values that can build bridges of forgiveness. The only choice we have is to choose to love over and over and over again. Our suffering is real and can overwhelm and make you feel like you are in a sealed room with no exit. Recognizing that everyone feels this the same way when they suffer, for whatever reasons, is a bridge to forgiveness and love.

Learning to love requires great courage in a world full of violence. We cannot be guaranteed security even as we long for safety and sanctuary. Opening yourself to love is how we soften our hearts and learn how to care and feel the pain of others. It is the only path with hope.