Finding Hope

People were killed and people were severely injured last week.

People are killed and severely injured every week, you say. How is this different? Hate crimes. Yeah. Hate crimes happen every day, too. It’s a sad, angry, scared, confusing world.

This crime was big and public and it hit the news. Caring, compassionate people are hurting, grieving, scared, and angry. Many have lost hope. Some are lashing out with angry words. They think it is a sign of compassion, a sign of solidarity, a sign of right. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it crosses the line. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I don’t condone behavior based on hate or anger from anyone, for any reason. I try to feel compassion. But yes, I’m angry, hurt, scared, and confused, too. I wanted to strike back. At the same time, I want to hide my head in the sand. I want to hope it will all go away. And I tried. I tried staying away from social media. I wrote in my journal. I pulled out words I’ve drafted for future blog posts and tried to post them. I tried to pretend all was well. But I couldn’t do it.

I wrote angry, hurt-filled, blaming words that I thought I would post. But I couldn’t do that either. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I turned to my center, searching for love, understanding, compassion, hope. Severely challenged by recent events, by all the hate and anger that surrounds us, I couldn’t find any hope until Kitt Crescendo responded to a post by Catie Rhodes. Catie asked folks to comment with whatever music they were listening to today (Sunday). Kitt responded with a comment that when she gets discouraged by the events surrounding us, she turns to this song:

There it is, my compassion, my faith in people, my hope. Look at the lyrics:

“The Change”
Lyrics by Tony Arata and Wayne Tester

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It’s like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It’s like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me

Some of you are likely going to comment that I’m avoiding naming the event, the place, the type of hate crime, and the criminals. Yes, I am. An ugly truth is that this isn’t the only hate crime that happened last week. It’s the one in the news. Hate crimes happen every day against people for their gender, their race, their religion, their otherness. Hate crimes range from angry, hurtful words to damaged property, or injury, or murder. No hate crime is less than or greater than the other. No hate crime is the right thing to do. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

So I will rise above my feelings of hate and anger. I will remember to show love and mercy to all people regardless of their gender, race, religion, or otherness, even regardless of their behavior. I believe bad behavior (which this goes way beyond) must have consequences. But I also believe that only through love and mercy will we ever find true equality and peace.

Written for a different hate crime, this song reminded me. I believe that love and mercy still exist. I know there are people like me who will hold love and mercy in their hearts no matter how much anger and hate is flung around the globe and at home. And knowing that, I know hope is never gone.

With heartfelt thanks to the lyric writers, Tony Arata and Wayne Tester, to Garth Brooks, Catie Rhodes, and Kitt Crescendo. Keep spreading love and mercy!