Are we in the midst of a new day of the Dark Ages? How do we conquer hate and convert our enemies to friends? When I taught school what I found is pretty elementary. The kids who acted out the most, who displayed signs of anger, aggression and violence were soothed and calmed with compassion. Often all they needed was to know someone cared about them, that they belonged somewhere. I taught school on the south and west side of Chicago, many of my students were homeless and hungry longing for a loving word or two. Education today isn’t only about teaching kids how to add or read and write, there’s so much more involved. So many people can easily experience feeling like an outsider, I know at times and in various situations I have.
Perhaps with the terrorists, they have never known a loving family, a loving word, or someone greeting them with a simple, “Good Morning.” Walking on Chicago’s streets these days I still say good morning to every one I pass before noon, yet so many people are plugged in to some device that they don’t even hear the greeting. Does it matter, would it matter if they did?
Myself, I’ve know despair and grief. Having lost my parents as well as my oldest brother within a span of 21 months 26 years ago, I’ve endured sadness and pain. The only thing that pulled me through were God and prayer. Honestly, only with God’s help did I find meaning and courage to carry on. Life is so challenging for us all, certainly moreso for those in poverty or broken families. Are these people who act with such hatred and anger really in need of nurturing, of a loving word? While I want to banish evil, and it seems easy just to wage war against “them”, whoever “they” are, how do we wage war against enemies scattered throughout the world? Perhaps these people are just victims of pain and it’s up to us to shower them with love them despite how they may act toward us. Through our kindness and good will all sorts of miracles could happen. That may be an outrageous idea, but love is the greatest force on earth. Is not love greater than any darkness, capable of transforming hearts and misaligned ideas alike? Perhaps it all starts with us saying good morning. Open your heart, Jesus would.