Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Love in the face of hate

I have always believe light is stronger than darkness.

Last Friday darkness descended on a school in Newton Conneticut and took with it 26 bright lights. The saddness that followed for me was nearly crippling. It is easy to say "What wrong with this world." Or debate gun laws or mental health issues. There is very little any of us can do to stop true evil. The one thing we can do is to live our lives with more love. To live our lives in more connection to others and not less. We can't turn back the clock and save anyone. But by our actions, we can change the world around us for the better.

My dear friend Leslie started a group on Facebook to help us all create more light and love in our world. She did this to help deal with her grief over Sandy Hook. Here is how she explains it.

This is a website dedicated to the idea that we are not powerless in the face of horror. It is designed to combat the helpless fear and sadness overtaking our nation. Join me in pledging to perform 26 acts of love and kindness to send a message to the families consumed by grief that we honor their beloved with our acts of love.

Let's give the nightly news a story we aren't afraid to listen to with our young children.

If enough people act perhaps it will tighten families, communities, nations and maybe just maybe it will rescue someone when they really need to be rescued.

Join me and perform these 26 acts and leave a note of explanation where possible to honor the victims and perhaps inspire the recipients to pass it along.

Feel free to post your ideas on the website and thank you.

I started on my 26 acts a couple of days ago by going down to our local school and delivering some baklava to them. I told the secretary I wanted to acknowledge our local heros. I gave her the card that explained this was one of my 26 acts of love to honor the victims of Sandy Creek. I then went to Safeway where there were three young teens in line pulling out their dollars to pay for their lunch. I told the clerk and them "I'm paying for that." It was only $9 but the look on the girls faces was priceless. I told them why I was doing it and asked them to do something unexpected and nice for someone else and tell them why. The clerk, the people in line behind me and the girls had stunned looks on their faces that slowly turned to smiles. My 3rd act was a donation to someone I don't know who is walking in their first 3 day for $26.

Today, I gave out 20 $10 cards at Target as part of my 26 Acts of Love. It was really strange and a lot of people were looking at me like I had some sort of agenda. I would just hand them the card and say Merry Christmas. The card said “Accept this gift in the spirit in which it was given. This is one of my 26 Acts of Love in honor of the 26 victims of Sandy Hook. Pay this spirit forward if you are able.” Then just the facebook address for the group.

I had about 6 left in my hand and a security guard came up to me. She just stood there, so I assured her there was no solicitation at all. And I handed her a card and said this is for you. She opened it up and was taken aback. She showed me a couple of cards she had in her hand. They were anonymous Christmas cards just wishing people a Happy Holiday with some children’s drawings inside. She said she had picked up 7 of these shattered around Vintage Oaks. The front said Open from a Secret friend.

As I was attempting to give out the last of the cards several woman came back to find me. Tears in their eyes, they thanked me and gave me the longest most heart felt hugs ever – one right after the other. They all promised to pay it forward. I handed out the last of the cards and left in tears.

Then I went to the emergency room of Marin General. I went up to the desk and dropped off a platter of Christmas cookies with the card attached and asked that they be shared with the Drs. Nurses and Staff. I thanked the person and left. The final stop today was the nursing home. There was a man my Dad’s age sitting in a wheelchair – staring out with little connection to me or anything else. I heard a woman groaning in another room. Finally someone came to the desk and I told her my cookies were to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I explained my father was in a rehab place far away from anyone. As I left the man who seemingly was in a never ending daze, looked directly at me and said “Thank you – Merry Christmas”. 

So I have comepleted 25 acts, but I have one more act of love. As I drove home I passed many places where there were people I had worked with, or gotten help from - the Cancer Center, the Hand Therapy Center on and on. I thought to myself how often we don’t acknowledge or thank people when we should. I thought how often time goes by, we get caught up in work, in life , the sometimes negative collection of troubles that seem to overwhelm so much else. I hope in this holiday we can reach out and make a difference even in the smallest of ways.

Leslie and Rob in the days their daughter's illness fought Cancer and were faced with the idea she may leave them at a very young age. That kind of pain they imagined, but thank God they didn't have to live through. Those parents and grandparents in Newtown are living the unimaginable.   I want to flood our lives with a light so bright, people don't need to be afraid to be in a "society like ours." I want the reality we expect to be one of kindness and love not bitterness and hate.   If you would like to join this movement visit www.facebook/26actsoflove

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