I spend time at the beach whenever I need perspective. When hatred launched the horrendous events in Charlottesville last weekend, I had the good fortune to have my toes planted firmly in the sand. Storms came up all around us, but seemed to split and pass north or south of our little spot of sandbar. Sun shone on us enough so I could take the walks necessary to think. The sea, as usual, didn’t disappoint. Here are a few ways the ocean teaches us to heal hatred.
Life keeps going
The rhythm of the waves makes it clear that no matter how off kilter our own worlds become, the one that sustains us keeps turning. If we bring our jumbled thoughts, fears, and sadness to the natural places we love, somehow, our own rhythms are restored. From that renewed place, we can be the change we want to see–the change that will heal hatred for good.
Storms Are Inevitable
Dark clouds fill our skies. Rain falls. Waves anger. Storms pass.
Our country stands beneath storms of division now. Hatred strikes and burns, leaving hearts broken and towns ruined.
Like the storms that fizzle as quickly as they blow in, I pray this storm loses steam, too.
After big winds destroy, neighbors come together to find and mend what is salvageable. Rebuilding begins, and people reconfigure structures to make them stronger in the face of the next series of storms.
We need to strengthen our hearts to help heal those of our friends who’ve been affected by these terrible events. When my husband struggled with derogatory comments made to him while he was in his police uniform, people in one of the communities he served reached out to him. They offered support, handshakes, and they made it a point to speak to him whenever they saw him. He talks about their kindness often and how he thinks about them when the job gets difficult.
Handshakes and hugs will not remove the horrific hatred spewed in Charlottesville. What these gestures do, however, is send a clear message. These hate groups do not speak for me. As people continue to reach out to friends and neighbors, they heal hatred and keep it from dividing their ranks.
Rebuilding doesn’t always have to be complex. The simplest gestures are the ones that touch hearts the most, I believe. Help someone with their groceries. Strike up a friendly conversation in line at the post office. Offer help at community events, fundraisers, and food pantries.
These acts strengthen bonds already in place. Hatred has no place where there is love and understanding.
Try drawing a line in the sand on low tide. Wait a few hours, and the line will be washed away.
The hate-induced tragedies around our nation can leave us all feeling powerless. Some people have been hurt so badly and lost so much. Who could blame them for choosing never to forgive?
A heart and a soul are beautiful and mysterious things, though. Hate can fill a heart, but the heart itself is NOT hatred.
Gentleness and love are like waves on a sunny day. All these things seem pretty innocuous in the face of something horrible. Yet they all have this quiet power to make mighty change—to wash clean and restore peace. Gentle streams cut deep canyons. Nothing in the way of water and waves stands unaltered.
The message from the beach this year was clear to me. We’re more powerful than we think.
So friends, let’s each pledge to do our best to heal hatred and wash the rage away. Let’s be the water. Together, we’ll make a mighty ocean.