I have so many passionate friends. It is a wonderful mix to my life. Friends who are involved in so many diverse things. Friends who disagree.
I have watched a lot of passion play out in FaceBook conversations over the last few months. My friends think about issues, articulate their viewpoints, and are passionate about issues.
I simply don’t talk about politics on FaceBook. I have a hard enough time thinking through the issues, and the passion of FaceBook gets away from me. It becomes too much too quickly…and the articulate discussions seem to become too emotional before we know it.
I am finding more and more that i simply have to quiet the media. There are so many things happening which can simply completely overwhelm. The latest, with the killing of the priest in his church…what do we even say to that evil?
It is so easy to be completely overwhelmed. When we are overwhelmed our emotions spill over, and our desire for hope…for something to lock on to that will bring an end to the suffering and the craziness…is at a peak. We are so eager for leaders who will bring real solutions.
Sometimes we think we have found those leaders, and sometimes within my group of friends there is strong disagreement about which leaders will bring chaos and which will bring peace. We look for something, and we see different things.
I think we have to have grace for one another in this season. We have to give some space to work through what it is we want in leaders, and what is the truth about those who offer their leadership. We have to be able to dialog, but to do so with some measure of compassion and understanding. That is not always something we can do online in quips on FaceBook and Twitter.
So what can we an do online? Share some hope and some stories of people who acted with integrity and with courage and with strength. Sometimes when the passion is a little too loud for me, I turn to these stories, and although they are all familiar, I thought they might bring some peace to you as well…
Irena Sendler was a young Jewish woman who rescued 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust. She eventually was arrested, and yet did not give up the names of any who had assisted her, or of the children. Even though they broke her feet and her legs.
Dobri Dobrev, the now 101 year old man in Bulgaria. He used to walk 15 miles a day to beg for money, although now he rides the bus. He lives on a minimal amount and gives away the rest to orphanages to help pay their bills.
Delaney Brown, a little 8 year old girl with Leukmia. She wished to hear carolers on Christmas, and with some help from Make-A-Wish, people rose to the occasion. They made her wish come true, just a few days before Delaney passed away.
Sergeant Gebhart. This Sergeant’s picture went viral a few years ago. He was serving in Iraq and would go in the hospital to see how he could help. This little girl’s family was killed by insurgents, who thought they had killed her as well. When she was restless, Gebhart would go in and hold her and she would calm down. He would continue to hold her as she slept.
How about this. In the midst of all the turmoil in Syria, there is a group rescuing books.
In a sense the library gave me back my life… just like the body needs food, the soul needs books
Go read this article.
How about some amazement from Creation?
The Danxia Landform in China:
How about this one to end with….the story of the lighthouse keeper. Have you seen this picture before?
Here’s the story..
So, there ya go. My solution to the days passionate political discussions. It is not that I want to ignore the discussions; I am listening to them and I pay attention especially to those friends I respect. The difficulty comes when friends I respect deeply are passionately on opposite sides of issues. That is the challenge. That is where we have to have grace.
Sometimes a pause is necessary, and hopefully some of these stories helped recenter you, as they did me. Sometimes we need to remember the remarkable people around us, and in our history. Sometimes we need to step back and look at the wonder around us. Then we are poised to re-engage with life and all its passions.