Sunday, December 16, 2012

charity never faileth

The tragedy in Connecticut has hit home for every person in the nation, if not throughout the world.  We are reminded to hold our kids tighter, to cherish our relationships, and never forget how fragile life can be.  There has also been a nonstop conversation regarding gun control, mental illness, and school security.  Everyone is seeking an answer of what drives someone to the point to commit such a senseless act of violence on the innocent.  My heart is aching tonight and my thoughts have been turned to the young man who took the lives of these children.  His life must have been one of desperation.  The pictures that I've seen of this boy are seered in my mind and I honestly can't help but wonder how his life events and relationships played out.  I imagine a tragic life without any sense of self worth, validation, appreciation, or love that is so crucial to every person's emotional development and well being.

A mantra that I repeat often to my children, my young women, and anyone willing to listen is this:

"When someone hurts you, it's because they aren't feeling love or they are filled with fear. People won't hurt other people when they feel noticed, appreciated, included, and safe."

The debate about why people do such awful things can begin with a deep look inside each of us and what steps we take each day to reach out and connect on a personal level with others.

To conquer bullying and encourage more respect and positive relationships, my girls' elementary school has begun a "fill someone's bucket today" initiative (the impetus which was this fabulous book).  The purpose is to instill lifelong habits in our children which build others, "fill" their emotional buckets, and make everyone feel like they have a friend.

Our world is becoming increasingly disconnected and a few minutes sending tweets and reading facebook posts will not equate the essential connection one feels within personal one-on-one interactions.  The friendships that I strengthen through phone calls and face time are the ones that currently bless my life.  The others pale in comparison . . . that is until we make personal contact again. It's truly amazing how quickly we are emotionally filled by the encouragement and connection with someone when it is done personally.

This is where my thoughts have been the past couple of days, and rather than engage in a contentious gun control debate or throw something at the tv when analysts begin discussing this "monster," I will choose to focus on making myself a better person and teaching my children to have confidence to reach out others.

I was dismayed that my sister called me out in a public social forum within hours of this tragedy on our choice to own a gun and demanded I answer her questions about gun violence. After answering her initial question with some of the reactionary gene that is imbedded in my psyche, I finalized the debate with this response:

I will end the conversation with this thought: I am not on trial here for my beliefs or values. If you and Bryan would like a civil discourse with Chris and me about this issue we would be happy to engage. Please take me out of this discussion, especially when our family is more focused and concerned at this time for the welfare and support of the families and loved ones of all those connected with this tragedy. My heart is breaking for everyone involved, and the conversation we are having with our children is that we continue to watch for the lonely, the misfits, and those who so desperately need to feel love and appreciation in this increasingly disconnected world. I don't know what the answer is, but for us, we choose to focus on love and awareness of those struggling with mental/emotional illness and those who so desperately need to feel validation and connection with others. That is one thing the government cannot solve. There are too many emotionally empty people in the world and my family will be doing our part to strengthen those in need rather than debate gun control in a public forum with you.

My prayer is that we come together during this difficult time in a spirit of compassion, understanding and love as we search for answers . . .
And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
  But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found  possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail.

  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Moroni 7:45-48, The Book of Mormon


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tanya said...

Lovely post Julie. I think you hit the nail on the head... we need to look for the misfits and do what we can to help people in the world feel loved.