We Are Not Afraid, We Are Not Afraid Today…
I promise you my middle name is not Pollyanna,* but today I pledge to not just imagine a world where there is no hatred and strife, I’m pledging to work toward it. I also encourage you to remember the words of diarist Anne Frank and repeat them often: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas where 59 people died and more than 500 were injured took my breath away. The Sunday before that a lone gunman opened fire at a church near Nashville killing one person and injuring several more–the rowdies who wreak havoc and loot instead of peacefully marching to protest violence—add the catastrophic storms, earthquakes, fires, floods and droughts–I don’t know about you, but I’m simply overwhelmed.
Staying at home with the covers pulled up over our heads may sound like a solution, but the place where we find ourselves today calls for action and these gentle reminders:
- God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy: 1:7). Act like it. Live until you die! Be vigilant and pay attention but refuse to be governed by FEAR! I applaud those who jump right into action, caring for others, binding up wounds, saving lives–doing what comes naturally–even putting themselves in harm’s way. We call them heroes but they are ordinary people who do extraordinary things in times of challenge. I pray when it is our turn, we, too will step up and be the difference.
- Stop wringing your hands and use them to create change. At first, the attacks on innocents, terrorist rumblings and the subtle discrimination and intolerance we’re experiencing seemed far away. Either I didn’t know the people involved, or it wasn’t my issue that day, but now when/if we ignore the things swirling around us, we do so at our own peril. If we’re not careful, fear and neglect will govern everything we do–who we associate with, what we fight for, where we go, who and what we value, and then the only thing left will be chaos and confusion.
Make phone calls and send emails to your elected officials on important topics. Become an advocate for change. Whether it’s healthcare, affordable housing, homelessness, gun control, immigration, right to life, capital punishment—all are quality of life matters for us and our neighbors. Speak up, stand up, roll up your sleeves, be counted and counted on.
- Be patient with and deliberately interested in others. Offer an encouraging word and love everyone like Jesus does. So many issues we deal with have long-term effects and may be invisible. The mental health of war and storm survivors is something we might overlook if we’re not careful. My friends, we must pray for the mental well-being of our neighbors and friends. These invisible and silent wounds will be more prevalent as the massacres and disasters continue to permeate our world. Don’t just avoid the woman down the street who wanders aimlessly, talking to herself, or the children who still suffer from nightmares because they saw their parents or siblings beaten or murdered. The scars may be hidden under our clothes and behind the smiling eyes but if we take time to listen to the stories, we know the suffering didn’t end when the debris was hauled away and the deployments ended. Sit a spell, hold a hand, pass a tissue—whatever “being there” looks like, let’s do it. For heaven’s sake.
*Pollyanna is a fictitious character from a book of the same name and is described as someone whose forever sunny disposition and glass- always-full mantra probably gets on everyone’s nerves.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.