Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wishing you love, light, and the means to preserve it

wishing you love and light - Ordinary Courage

I love the look of Dr. Brene Brown's blog, Ordinary Courage, as well as the uplifting message in this post, "wishing you love and light,"published December 18.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please read the entire post and not just the excerpt here. H/T: Jane for bringing this light to my attention. 

The Dr King quote highlighted in Brene's post is similar to the following quote attributed to the Buddha and published in Nepo's Awakening (December 17th)

In this world,hate never yet dispelled hate.Only love dispels hate.This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible
- Buddha
These two similar quotes hit me hard because I read them in the aftermath of the December 14th Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. 

On December 14, 2012, Adam Peter Lanza, age 20, fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members and wounded two at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut. Before driving to the school, he had shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home.After killing the students and staff members, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head as first responders arrived. --Wikipedia

In view of the wisdom in these quotes, and given the reality of recent tragic events, I wonder, "What is the correct response to senseless tragedy?" 
  • Vengeance, such as screening and "pre-treating" potential murderers?  
  • Vigilance, such as armed guards in schools, and teachers with pistols in the classroom? 
  • Regulation to limit the freedom of law-abiding citizens? 
  • Resignation to the flaws of human nature?  
  • Some combination of the above?
  • Something else not yet mentioned?

Light drives out darkness. This is evident every time we flip the light switch in a dark room. But, does only light drive out darkness as Dr King said?  Can the darkness of a lost human soul be brightened by some needed compassion? I believe so.

Both Dr King and Buddha further opined that only love dispels hate. Is this true?  Is compassion enough to stop a crazed, irrational, self-loathing sociopath with a death wish? The Beatles sang, "Love is all you need." Tell that to the families of Adam Lanza's victims.  

I don't know how to drive out darkness except by light, either literal or figurative. I do not know how to dispel hate, except by love and compassion. I do not know how to stop evil, especially irrational and heavily-armed evil, except by superior force. I believe in compassion to prevent hate and increase love. I believe in forgiveness to reduce stress and increase love. And I believe in taking dead aim on any demon-filled wacko who threatens me or my family. 

I refuse to die unarmed in a gun battle. 

A warm gun is cold comfort, but I would rather go down fighting than cowering in the corner with my arms around my children and my back to the attacker. And I am certainly willing to obtain all the licenses, training, and certifications necessary to make sure any potential thug or wacko looks somewhere else first. 

Wishing you love, light, and the means to preserve it. And if that means standing behind me, know that I am ready.


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  2. A very thoughtful post Dave. I think many of us are sitting in this special time of peace, hope, love and joy…the light side of the spectrum, trying to “get through” the sadness, despair, hate and pain of Sandy Hook….the dark side of the spectrum.

    I find it interesting that your previous post was about forgiveness [] and this post is a bit more guarding. However, it is a true testimony of our human nature. One day we are in the “seeking mode”, trying to make sense of life and looking for what brings us healthy doses of peace, hope, love and joy that we can hold onto and secure. Many times, forgiveness brings us all of these.

    The next day we may be in the “protective mode”, shielding what we have and value, acting in the state of another “F” word….fear. At any moment, we may fear “what” may be taken away from us in a single moment…the same “what” which may have taken us many moments to recognize, cultivate and “call our own”.

    Forgiveness then Fear? Fear then Forgiveness? Which comes first? Which should come first? Is it okay to be forgiving one day and fearful the next? Does it keep us from taking what we have for granted?

    Thank you for introducing me to Dr. Brené Brown’s blog. I am adding it to my blog roll and I do agree that the look and feel of her blog adds spirit to her valuable words.
    “Gratitude” is a word I have read over and over in 2012. “Joy” is a word that I have read often in the last month. The “power of light” is a concept I have read and thought about frequently in the last week. I see a trend and I am feeling very good going into 2013.

    Thanks again for giving me something deeper to consider, question and find the answers to in my own head, hand and heart.

    I will lean into joy inside simple moments and feel very grateful for what I have.

    P.S. I have added Dr. Brown’s Authenticity badge to my blog. It gives my blog a good look and feel, and me, a healthy reminder!

    1. Fear and Forgiveness are not necessarily in a chicken and egg relationship. I forgive fairly easily. But, to be clear, I would much rather forgive far less often than I have to. Given that the world is imperfect and random and unfair, I live hoping for the best, yet prepared for the worst. If I can avoid an accident by driving defensively, then perhaps there's one less distracted driver I am going to be called upon to forgive.

    2. I agree. Preparation and prevention are both good things. We want to live smart, safe and secure. Positive ideals and a good heart will not protect us against a disturbed being with hardware.

      Importantly, Life is a good thing! I see a world with much beauty, opportunity and congeniality. We can focus on the pretty while preparing for and preventing imperfections, anticipating the surprise of randomness and working to balance the unfairness with genuine fairness. Those not-so-good things hide in the crevasses, but they don't make the sculpture.

      Peace to you Dave in 2013.

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