It's more powerful to let faith for change radiate from us than concentrating on who's guilty, in our communication, and in wearing the weight of injustice on our countenances. And nothing validates "faith for change" more than a genuine smile that comes up from the heart and out through the eyes.
Injustice is everywhere. On every continent. In every country and city. Everyday, innocent die and guilty go free.
In 2007 in America, 16,929 people were murdered and 90,427 people were forcibly raped. The death count resulting from the horror of Darfur, Sudan is approaching 400,000. The American Civil War was the deadliest in American history, causing 620,000 soldier deaths and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. And an American president, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated because of an ignorant hatred and fear of Black Americans who then lived in humiliation and daily fear for their lives.
The list goes on of atrocities that have stained humanity since the beginning of time.
So how can we smile today? And why should we smile?
Peace is spread from the present forward. The past has passed. Our hope is in the generations that follow us. Should we communicate the pain of injustice to a our young children? Should we make it our aim to tell them who's "wrong" so they can begin their journey taking sides? Where has that gotten us? Or, in the face of suffering and injustice, should we give them an encouraging smile that says, "we can get through this". Minimizing blame and maximizing hope that may plant a seed that causes them to reach out beyond the hate and prejudice that will always be around us?
Mother Theresa said, "Peace begins with a SMILE" and I'm just starting to understand what she meant.
Dwelling on the pain of injustice only justifies those on either side of any given conflict and can end up inadvertently breeding more hate and mistrust. We all hurt. We all feel pain when we see those in pain. But love and peace are bigger and broader than that. True peace is captured in the eyes of a child and the childlike. Faith is more powerful than fear and far more difficult to attain, especially for adults. I believe the ability to genuinely smile in dark times is the evidence that one believes peace and change are truly possible and that love wins in the end.
I made a cognizant choice to do my part for peace by not emphasizing the lack thereof, but by capturing the smiles of the "peaceful" and writing a song for ALL to relate to: "On Our Way Back Home".
I am painfully aware that I can do nothing to stop ANY injustice anywhere. And I know I can't really make a difference by taking sides or joining those who agree with how hopeless things are. But I can (perhaps) put a ray of peace and love into one human heart at a time.
God watches. God knows. And God will vindicate the righteous. Sometimes here on earth, but most definitely in and throughout eternity. Where all matters will be settled and the vapor of this life won't be remembered. And I fully believe that God smiles because He knows the end from the beginning and the good things He has in-store for those hurting here on Earth.
America's 16th President, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated because of hate and prejudice toward Afro-Americans.
YESTERDAY, January 19, 2009, America celebrated a beloved national holiday, in honor of a great Black man, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
TODAY, another great Afro-American, Barack Obama, has been inaugurated as our 44th President. Change is possible. Peace is possible. Hearts can change and a genuine loving smile is always good thing.
My sincerest heart and prayers go out to all those suffering in this Gaza conflict. Please take hope and feel a wave of love from across the oceans and hopes for a quick resolve. There are countless here who love you.
Palestinians and Israelis you were brothers before you became enemies. Please teach your children that and give them a sincere smile to validate your faith in and for peace with one another and the world.
SMILE IF YOU LOVE PEACE