Invite Love Where It Belongs

I have this fear..
This fear that the world will allow hate to take over.
Because it isn’t about laws or rights or the president or Congress,
It’s about love verses hate,
And the days that we let hate win.
The memories we have in our minds of hate,
They’re permanent even when we aren’t directly affected.
I was in the 2nd grade on September 11th, 2001.
I remember where the TV was located in the classroom,
I remember watching my teacher cry,
I remember going home in fear that the same hate would take over at my own house,
My heart racing every time an airplane flew over.
But then I watched Americans put aside their differences
And help each other,
Pray for each other,
Be there for each other,
And while the event itself was devastating, love won.
Payback was never the answer. Love was.
How strong the relatives and friends of those victims must be to allow love to win.
I was sitting in civics class in the 7th grade
When we got news that a shooter killed 32 students at Virginia Tech.
My teacher was silent,
My classmates frozen,
My brother dreamt of attending that same college a few years down the road.
Fear set in.
How scared must they have been?
How would it feel to wait on answers that would never come..
To wait on a phone call that would never come..
To not know if your child or brother or cousin was alive or not.
How scary it was on a day where hate took over.
People came together.
They handed over their empathy, their prayers, their differences again.
How strong the relatives and friends of those victims must be to allow love to win.
Payback was never the answer. Love was.
Sandy Hook, Florida, Las Vegas, Florida again.
Fear set in,
Hate took over,
But it never won.
Love and the prayers and help and support in the days to follow,
That won.
Because payback was never the answer. Love was.
How strong the relatives and friends of all of those victims must be to allow love to win.
We turn on the news, we open Facebook,
And that’s all we hear.
Hate, hate, hate.
Fear sets in.
What is this world we live in?
Scared to send our children to school,
Scared to go to the store,
Scared to leave the walls of our own home some days..
But only on the days we let fear take over.
Only on the days we allow hate to settle in.
Only on the days we take our focus off of each other,
The days we take our focus off of love.
Love wins. It has to win.
We have to let it.
I was very young.
I remember the restaurant we were in when a man walked in.
The smells,
the table we were sitting at,
what was on my plate.
Worn out clothes, dirty hands, sad eyes.
“Please,”
He said.
“Please, does anyone have any spare change?”
The manager shooed him out.
“Ignore him,”
They said,
“He comes in here and does this all the time.”
My little eyes redirected to the man I was sitting with,
Reaching in his wallet anyway.
He grabbed some money,
Ran outside,
Flagged the man down.
He handed the money to him,
He gave him a smile and a pat on the back,
He returned to the table and continued eating without a word.
“Why did you do that?
My little voice asked,
They said he does that all the time.”
He replied gently and quietly,
“It is not my job to ask questions.
It is only my job to help when I can.”
Love may have saved that man’s life.
Love won in that moment.
Love won that day.
Older,
I walked into a room to a man I knew putting money into a blank envelope.
I remember the vibrant color of the carpet,
The amount of snow outside,
The chair he was in.
Confused, curious, I asked,
“What are you doing?”
I remember his face,
I can still see it.
He was startled;
He didn’t realize anyone was watching.
“Just putting together a little something.
Would you like to help?
I could use a driver!”
I did.
He mapped out a plan for me to drop him off at a mailbox,
Loop around in a close parking lot,
And pick him up as quickly as possible.
I left him at the mailbox.
He was gone by the time I came back.
He had run to the top of a nearby hill,
Out of sight to the people who lived in that home.
“Get in, get in!”
He jumped in the car and we began driving home.
“I saw you putting money in that envelope..
You didn’t sign your name..
Why don’t you want them to know who left it?”
I remember his smile,
So humble,
So gentle.
“They need help right now, they’re having some medical issues,
The person who helps isn’t what matters,
Just the help.”
Love probably did save that family’s life.
Love won in that season.
Love won so hard that day.
A woman who saw a man at an intersection,
Who took the time to go buy him a hot meal.
She gave him dinner, water, a poncho for possible rain in the forecast,
She saw someone who needed help;
Without questioning it, she took her time to help.
She shared love with a perfect stranger.
Love won that day.
A man who stopped when he saw that a family had wrecked,
Who could’ve just as easily driven by.
They were shaken, scared,
He stayed with them until help arrived.
Love won that day.
A young man with medical knowledge
Who stopped to help another young man who had been badly hurt;
He kept pressure on him to stop the bleeding until the paramedics arrived.
Love won that day.
I remember the colors, the smells, the exact expressions of these faces
As if each of these happened yesterday.
Because the memories we have in our minds of love,
They’re permanent even when we aren’t directly affected, too.
When fear sets in,
When I get scared of the place this world is..
On the days that we allow hate to take over,
When we push love aside
To argue,
Debate,
And insist that our way is the only way,
I think about how beautiful the days are
When we allow love to win.
The days we push aside our differences because we realize they don’t matter.
Our color, religion, political beliefs are always irrelevant;
But the days when we take the time to realize that,
The days that the focus is off of us,
The days we realize someone needs our heart and our helping hand more than our criticism and our judgement,
Those days are so, truly beautiful.
Because we push hate to where it belongs;
Away.
And we invite love where it belongs;
In.
Love.
Love ALWAYS wins.
We just have to let it.
Payback is never the answer.
Love is.

Written By: Ginny Reavis Thiele

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