Days like today leave me stumped for a little while. When I truly think about the day I’m flooded with gratitude for so many wonderful moments and reminders. Thanks to a wonderful podcast I even woke up thankful to be alive, thankful for another day, and thankful my loved ones were with me. Learning moments for both boys, yoga, time with family, a sermon that had me thinking, a beautiful song, and so many other wonderful things were all observed with a great deal of gratitude.
As we wrapped up the night Be my, Gavin, and I watched Hacksaw Ridge. Wow, talk about a powerful movie!
While the emotion of the story was incredible I found myself with tears running down my face for another reason. How is it possible that mankind is capable of inflicting such horrible atrocities on itself as portrayed in this movie set in World War II? The fact that this truly happened (the battles of the war itself more so than just the movie) blows my mind. My heart aches for past generations who had to live this.
Between the movie, the sermon at church, and so many wonderful books and articles recently I was reminded of what may be the most important lesson shared with humanity. For those of my readers who may not be into the religion thing please bear with me. The lesson comes from Matthew 22:37-39. Whether Christianity is your jam or not please hear me out.
“And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
To me the first line speaks to being thankful to a higher power, be it God, Allah, the Universe, or even The Big Dude Upstairs. It is a reminder to be grateful for our existence. Our higher power also helps us live into being the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be. In learning about and loving The Big Dude Upstairs (btw – I use “dude” without any gender classification because I personally feel that arguing the gender of God would totally be missing the point in the first place) I have a more clear vision of who The Big Dude Upstairs is falling me to be. To sum it up, by loving God I have the opportunity to live into the best possible version of me. That point is so important as it sets the stage for the second portion.
If I have an idea of who the best me could be I need to love my neighbors as that best possible version of me. Not just neighbors, but all people. Even the ones I don’t necessarily like. The best version of me who loves my neighbor as I love myself as I am a reflection of The Big Dude Upstairs means I have to love everyone as I love The Big Dude Upstairs as they are a reflection of The Big Dude also. Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s some circular logic going on there 😉 but I think you get what I’m saying.
If I truly want to be the best version of me I must love EVERYONE as I love The Big Dude Upstairs. Period. It’s no big secret that I am very much not a fan of our president and I’m almost certain to vote for whoever runs against him, even if it is literally just a baked potato. In fairness, there are several folks on the other side who would also love my vote to the aforementioned baked potato. Regardless of my thoughts of the sub-baked potato politicians I must find a way to love them as I love The Big Dude Upstairs. Talk about a Herculean task!
All that said, I have the option of loving them and others or not, it is under my control to choose my emotions towards them. I decide if I love them, like them, tolerate them, dislike them, or hate them. Deep down in my soul I know that anything short of love is a mistake. Each step from love is one step closer to hate.
As I watched Hacksaw Ridge and toured the WWII museum earlier this year I saw very clearly what hate can lead to. When we allow hate into our hearts we lose our humanity and are capable of the most awful crimes against each other.
We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves, but in order to do that we must love our higher power with all our heart, mind, and soul as that love strengthens us and shows us how to love ourselves first so that we may love others as a reflection of the way The Big Dude Upstairs loves us all.
I truly feel we can live in a world with no more war and hate if only we each focus on love rather than the differences that could divide us.
Wow, that went way longer than expected! To each of you who made it through, please let me know your thoughts. Did I miss the make or was there a point I should consider? Please speak up and don’t be shy.
Thanks!!! and… I love you all! Thanks for being awesome and loving people!!!