After the most divisive and polarizing election campaigns and outcome possibly since the time of the Civil War, now more than ever we need the self-healing that only love can bring. As Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return to Love, “There are two emotions: love and fear.” The cousins of fear are hate and intolerance. The cousins of love are acceptance and kindness. I choose love.
On Election Night 2016, disappointed and saddened Americans went online in droves researching how to emigrate to Canada in an attempt to seek refuge from a change in leadership marked by fear, hate, and intolerance. Since then, I’ve heard the hateful remarks of other Americans demanding that those not in agreement with the newly elected leadership to leave the country or else be kicked out. Well, I am a proud American, even if I do not agree with its newly elected leader. I’m not leaving, nor will I be quiet about what I believe. I choose love.
As an African American having lived in this country for upwards of seven generations, I carry the blood of both the slaver and the enslaved. How do such historical extremes reside harmoniously within one being? Shall I deny one part of my heritage because I disagree? In doing so I would be denying a part of myself, thus not recognizing myself as a whole and complete person. I choose to look squarely at both the darkness and the light understanding that today I continue to have a choice in where I place my focus. I place my focus on that which I wish to see grow. I choose love.
In the 1800s my family helped to physically build this country, its roads, farms, cities, engineer the District of Columbia, build the White House and Capitol Building while not even being recognized as fully human. In the 1900s my family continued to structure this country through expanding legislation to recognize the rights of all of its citizens. Now in the 2000s, that work continues. America is not complete. We continue to strive to create that more perfect union. Today, this is my work to continue... and I know I am not alone in that work.
In choosing love, I’m not advocating for a Pollyanna-style, ostrich’s “head in the sand” existence. Love could not exist in this dichotomous human existence without hate. However, I choose love. I will not give my attention to the machinations of a hateful mind. I will speak my loving mind to lift up those around me. I will speak my loving mind to remind others that love has not died.
Our country is wounded, polarized, angry, and fearful. In the days, months, and years ahead it is impossible for one person to heal this wound. Albert Einstein has said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” What is possible and most necessary is for each individual to heal themselves and make a choice of how to act towards others. Will it come from a place of fear and hate or one of acceptance and love. I choose love.
As a mother, the only president my 10-year old son has ever been aware of has been President Barack Obama. His classrooms are filled with other 9- and 10- year-olds from the multi-racial and multi-cultural corners of the world where Americans can trace their heritage. While they certainly recognize the difference in the color of each other’s skin, hair, and dialect they attach no further meaning to those differences. They eagerly share in each other’s family traditions and holidays. Together they are student writers, scientists, mathematicians, athletes, dancers, gymnasts, artists, singers each with their own strengths and challenges. They arrive to this world loving and open. In home and in school they are taught to be kind and accepting of each other’s differences and not to participate in or bear silent witness to bullying.
Today as adult members of this society, leaders in our own homes, families, social circles, and communities we too must not bear silent witness to the bullying taking place on the national level. Our nation is built upon individual communities. Those communities are built upon individual households and families. We have a voice. We have impact. I choose love to govern my words and my actions, because it is love I wish to see grow in my own home, my community, my nation, and ultimately in this world we all share.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Let’s stand together! Take the pledge to choose love and let’s spread love, kindness, and acceptance wherever we go.
Take the pledge to yourself now:
“I pledge to be an agent of love, kindness, and acceptance in my thoughts, words, and actions.” I Choose Love!