Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Love Harder

Over and over I state how close music is to my heart.  It isn't just a casual thing I listen to at random times.  It is more than just something to put me to sleep or wake me up.  No, it is more.  Music is my life.  It can be a drug, a calming sound, a job, a remedy or at times a cure.  No matter the time or situation, music will fit into one of these categories.  It is how my brain functions and how I relate to the reality around me - both physical and spiritual.

Over the last couple of weeks the scene unfolding across America is heart breaking.  Words have often failed to provide any sort of explanation.  My understanding is limited, at best.  My brain wants my eyes and ears to be deceiving me, yet daily there is a continual stream of tragedy at every glace at my phone, a TV or a computer.  I find myself wondering why, how, for what and if I'm living a nightmare.  Sadly this isn't a nightmare, it isn't a dream, and there is no need to be pinched.  It is all real.  So very real.

I have seen and heard responses from the masses.  The responses are mixed and yet they all have said the same thing.  Yes, it is heart breaking.  Yes, it is senseless.  Sure, change needs to be made.  Some blame one thing while others blame another thing.  Through all of these responses the one thing I keep hearing isn't what is being said.  Rather, it is the silence from words missing in the speeches.  It is the words not said by our leaders (choose your leader as they are many), our friends, our media, our families or even ourselves.  What is missing are simple words.  Words that are taken for granted, but spoke with intent.  Yet, they may be the hardest words one could ever speak.  What I find missing in our rush to blame, to cry for change and in sensationalizing each tragedy are the words of love.

I hear you yelling at me now, "Come on, Aaron.  It's not that easy.  Plus, you're not listening to the right people."  I'll agree with you in saying it isn't that easy.  Then I'll ask who the right people are to listen to.  But for now, let's stick with missing words of love.

Love is never an easy thing to do.  It is a choice, directed towards something or someone.  Don't believe me?  Ask any married person and they'll tell you love is a choice.  It isn't easy to love people when they've angered you.  It isn't easy to love someone when they steal from you.  Try loving someone when they lie to you.  Or, try loving them when they don't like you because you don't agree with their thoughts on a subject both of you are passionate about.  No, it's not easy.  But, the words of love are still missing.

Listen to Fox News, CNN, CBS, DailyKos, Alternet, Breibart or any other media and you'll see finger pointing.  You'll hear debate after debate from your coworkers/friends/family about how wrong one side is, all the while another side will do the same when you talk to them.  But do you hear resolve?  Is anyone actually talking action as opposed to reaction?  How much love do you hear from anyone?  Better yet, do you read any Twitter or Facebook posts offering legitimate change?

Of all the words, Dallas Police Chief David Brown spoke, he can't stress enough about love.  I applaud him for those words.  Above the promise to love, he offered a solution to join the police force and he would help you resolve your grievances.  These are words of love, of action, of compassion and of someone who is seeking resolve.  So yes, I've heard them, but not many.

In words of love, there is another part that is missing.  That is the action of listening, understanding, of gaining a greater appreciation for the "other side," no matter what that is.  One never has to agree, but a better understanding will make love a lot easier.  Hearing provides an opportunity to begin the process of change.  Hearing allows others to know you care.  Hearing allows you an opportunity to learn about the other.  Hearing, in short, is an opportunity to show it is more than your words, thoughts and actions you care about.  It is the other person you love enough to hear them out.

Now tell me, how many of you hear more than one side from your source of news?  How many times do your favorite media sources have more than one voice explaining what is going on?  Live feeds from local stations not withstanding, it is pretty safe to say that the voices provided are typically one sided representations of the views of said media source.  I believe there has to be more.

Okay, there is more.  There are people sharing love.  There are people trying to change the scene of all that is going on.  People like YouTube and Facebook sensations from the Free Hugs Project.  The people of Atlanta and Dallas that are forming lines to hug police officers outside courthouses and near rallies.  Heck, even the people of Cheyenne have talked about a rally in support of law enforcement.  So yes, there is good going on.  Sadly, the mass media isn't sharing these acts of love as often as they should.

As I wrote this, I couldn't help but think of a few things that spoke of love.  Let's start with Christ and his words in the book of Matthew.  In discussing the greatest commandment in the law of Moses, he only gave two.  The first was to love God.  The second, to love your neighbor as yourself.  Then in Galatians 5:13-15, Paul affirmed the words of Christ to love your neighbor, but also warned of destroying one another.  But, the words of love aren't just found in Christ's words, or the words of his disciples.  Solomon had many words of wisdom regarding love, however, it is Proverbs 10:12 that I find the most poignant:  "Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses."

Then, as I listen to my musical medicine, I can't deny that there are several songs about love and how to change our world through love.  But, let me highlight just two of them.  The 1st is from Five For Fighting entitled "What If" and asks us to put ourselves in the other persons shoes.  The second is from one of the most influential bands and the 1991 album.  Yes, Bono and the Boys that make up U2 knew back then that love is a powerful thing.  "One love, one life, when it's one need in the night."

Please, start speaking love, start showing love, and most importantly, be the love.  Christians and nonbelievers alike, stop speaking the hate thinking your doing something positive.  You're not!  You're only stirring the pot causing a greater divide between you and others.