Posts Tagged: Love

Text

The major news story recently is about the Occupy protests and what change is really coming from them.  Many people are saying that nothing is going to change.  Others say that the people that are protesting are lazy and looking for a free hand out.  There is so much anger between the 99% and the 1%.  But there is also anger within the ranks of the 99%.  If the 99% were truly united, then there would be no doubt that major change would happen immediately.  But there isn’t unity.  My question is, why not?  Why are the people that, based on the numbers, being hurt the most not uniting?  My personal belief is that is entirely due to trust.

American’s have not trusted their neighbors for years.  You can see it in every newscast.  All you will see are the horrible things going on in this world and why you need to be afraid of them.  For example, we have been trained to be terrified of terrorism.  But I am pretty sure there has been zero civilian deaths in the United States due to Islamic Terrorism since September 11th.  In fact, we should be more scared of our chairs because sitting too much is way more likely to kill you.  

I have been confronted with the statistic that only 53% of Americans actually pay taxes, and that invalidates all of the Occupy protests.  This article explains why that is ridiculous, but I like to paint a picture of it.  The article says, “a family of four earning $26,400 a year will pay no taxes ”. Now it is hard to determine what groupings of adults and children make up that household, but let’s assume it is a nuclear familty with two parents and two children.  They probably have at least $10,000 a year(and that is at a low $833 a month rent, which is almost impossible to find) to pay to have a place to live, so now we are down to about $16,000.  Then if you take out $5,000 for a car in total yearly cost of owning a car.  So that brings us down to $11,000.  Then using this chart, you subtract $6,000 for groceries.  Now you are at $5,000 left, and you have not taken out insurance you might have to pay, internet(and with two children in school, that is a necessity for them to be successful), or a ton of incidentals that might come up during that year.  Do we really want these people paying taxes anyway?

I went through all of that to make another point though.  We often lump people into statistics and forget that there are human beings behind them.  We distance ourselves from the emotion linked to other humans suffering.  If we want to continue as a functioning democracy, we need to realize these emotions and start to trust our neighbor.  We need to believe that there is more good in the world than evil.  If we don’t then we will see more evil and fall into a self-fulfilling prophesy.  There is so much power when you fight with love and caring.  Martin Luther King Jr. saw something he knew wasn’t right. He states in his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, “If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”  We need to not be hostile toward the 1%, but rather try to unite  together to form 100%, a society that is moving in one direction together.  

We will not agree with each other, and that is a great thing.  If everyone thought the same then there would be no new ideas and no innovation.  What needs to change is our view of the people we disagree with.  If we believe our opponents are out to hurt us and defeat us, then that is what we will get.  But if we view our opponents as people who challenge us in order to make us(and in turn society) better, then we will get a lot more done in our society.  We will also feel better about ourselves and society.  And how does this happen?  Trust.  We need to have trust in our fellow man(or woman, transgender, or anyone else that might be reading this).

Trust is definitely a leap of faith, but with great risk comes great reward.  And at this point, what do we have to lose?

Text

Tonight, I have heard some terrible news that a person(not a student) at Illinois State University has fallen about 20 stories to his/her death.  You can read more on it here.  This is a tragedy, there is no denying it.  And with tragedies like these, people start to ask questions.  Why did they do it?  What could have been done to stop it?  Who is to blame?  Why did it happen to us?  All of these questions are very valid and very important to the grieving process.  And many times there is no answer for one or all of those questions, which is very difficult for us to take.  

There are very few details about this incident out at the moment I right this.  But as more information comes in, it won’t change the biggest thing we can learn from this.  And that is to love.  To love everyone.  To smile at a stranger walking past you.  To give up your seat on a bus for an older person.  To hold the door open for the person behind you(even if they are kind of far away and you will be standing there for upwards of 15 seconds waiting for them to get to the door).  Even love the person who lives on floor 2 of a 15 story building, but still takes the elevator.  

Love is really the basis of happiness.  We as a human species crave it.  Click Here to read about how love can change the lives of senior citizens.  But love is not just for the elderly, obviously.  We all need love in our lives.  

But if love is so important, why do we spend so much time in hate?  We hate terrorists.  We hate the 1%.  We hate failing.  We hate our in-laws.  We hate ourselves.  Why all this hate?

What if we were to make a list of all the things we hate, and find a way to love something from it.  Instead of hating terrorists, why don’t we love other cultures.  Instead of hating the 1%, why don’t we just love and care for those that are in the 99%.  Instead of hating failing, what if we just loved taking risks and learning from them.  Instead of hating our in-laws, what if we loved the fact that they are the reason you significant other is here.  Instead of hating ourselves, what if we loved what we can and will do in this world.  

When you bury your hatred in love, you will truly feel alive.  You will want to go out and do something, and you will be a lot happier while you do it.  Next time you fill out your taxes, don’t think about how you are losing money.  Think about how that money is paying for a firefighter who might save your neighbor’s life.  When you change the way you see things, you change the way you feel and live.

What does all of this have to do with the tragedy at ISU?  Well, what we learned tonight is life is short.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow, and we cannot change yesterday.  We are in control of now, though.  And when the now is filled with love over hate, the now is so much sweeter, and the world is better for it.

My heart and prayers are with the family, friends, acquaintances, and the rest of the ISU community.  I pray that you don’t hate the events of tonight, but instead love the person that it happened to, and open that love to others.  I now suggest you open your hearts to those around you, as you never know who really needs it.