I’m not okay and I bet you aren’t either

This site is supposed to be a safe place where we can bear our hearts to each other, lift each other up, comfort and encourage one another. And as the Chief Cheerleader, it’s my job to create that space. It’s my job to start the healing with confessions of my own, with honesty, vulnerability and brokenness. It’s my job to talk about hard things and share how I find joy and hope in any situation.

And I’ve been silent.

I’ve been silent because I simply didn’t have the words. The news of the world had just become too much. I was left stunned and broken and completely mute.

Until last night.

Last night, my nephew’s girlfriend texted, “I know the crazy stuff going on is in Dallas, but still thinking of you all! Stay safe and love you!” You see, she’s in North Carolina and knows that Dallas is four hours from Houston, but tragedy was happening in Texas and Texas is home to her people. Dallas was simply too close to Houston for her to not check on us. Even though she knew we probably weren’t there, she needed to check in with her people.

Rich and I were snuggled in at home watching Big Brother (I know, I know, judge away) and didn’t know what she was talking about. We quickly searched the news and reassured her that we were okay. But you know what?

I’m not okay. And I bet you aren’t either.

To tell you the truth, I probably haven’t been okay for years. Decades even.

I wasn’t okay watching the green night-vision footage from Desert Storm, I wasn’t okay watching the OJ Simpson trial, I wasn’t okay watching the footage from September 11, I wasn’t okay watching suicide bombers target innocent people and I’m not okay watching our world and our country turn on itself.

I’m not okay. It’s not okay.

The anger, hate and fear are not okay.

I didn’t know what to do, how to respond. I couldn’t write about how taking a vacation to the same place every year has changed the rhythm of our family life, I couldn’t tell you about how we do long road trips without screen time for our kids. It seemed too trivial. I tried to return to business as usual, but the words and actions would not come.

Last night, I realized they wouldn’t come until we talked about how we can respond when the world feels like too much.

For the last month, I’ve been watching as little of the news as possible, watching beauty videos and vlogs on YouTube, watching Bob Ross paint happy little trees and re-reading my favorite summer books. I’ve been escaping reality whenever I could. I’ve been holding my kids close, playing Connect Four, snuggling on the couch, hanging out in the inflatable pool and making piles of clothes and toys to take to the Salvation Army.

For the past month, I’ve been loving my people and surrounding myself with beauty. And I bet you have too.

While the issues at the root of all the divisiveness, anger, fear and hurt are much larger that I can tackle, there is something I can do to move us forward.

I can love. And so can you. And together, we can help create a love revolution.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. so wisely said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Love and light can drive out darkness and hate. Love can shine a light on the root of the issues and bring people together in peace to work toward real solutions.

Love can transform our country. Love can transform our world.

I’m not naive enough to believe that holding hands and singing will unite us. (Does anyone else remember Hands Across America?) But I do know that love comes from God and perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:7-21 I know that we are called to love each other as God has loved us.  John 13:34-35

I’m not saying all we need is love. (That was the Beatles) But I am saying that if we begin with love, if we lead with love, we can transform our homes, neighborhoods, cities, country and our world.

So today, I encourage you to follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you would like to be treated. Lead with love and peace and joy.

We can’t solve the world’s problems, but we can show the world God’s love.

Let’s move forward with love and joy.

Let’s do it together.

I'm not okay with Outrageously Wonderful

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Good words, Jenna. Are all of us strong enough to follow through?

  2. I try to remember that our world is ultimately filled with more kindness than hate…and that love will triumph. Take care.

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