Tag Archives: God

Love Must Push Back

 

 

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Lady Justice with her scales and her sword. Source: Internet, no credit found. 

Like many Americans, my mind is swirling with many questions about the 2016 presidential election, particularly its results. As I did during the contentious 18 months of campaigning, I am reading opinion pieces and articles to try to comprehend why people, especially people of differing opinions, think the things they do. Peace starts with empathy. One journalist asked why people are still touting the “Love Trumps Hate” slogan after the election results proved it wrong.

“Love Trumps Hate” is for me a belief rooted in faith, not a mere slogan. Since God is the source of all love, then God trumps hate – ultimately, seldom instantly, but in a sustained fashion. Being a person of faith means accepting that things happen in God’s time, and we are not privy to the reasons. Waiting is hard for us, especially when times are hard. And we are quick to forget that we need to work, to fight, and to sacrifice for things worth having.

Why did hate – in the forms of disrespect, bullying, misogyny, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia – get tolerated and perhaps rewarded in this election? Were people so filled with rage born of fear and resentment that nothing else mattered? Were people were so filled with distrust and laziness that they did not bother to vote in rejection of these things?

Women, racial minorities, immigrants, veterans, the LGBT community, and disabled persons were all made to feel less than, unwanted, intimidated, and threatened during this election. Now that the responsible person is in a position to affect their lives, many people have reason to fear and doubt. Now more than ever, I need to cling to my belief that love trumps hate.

Love sometimes requires courageous, difficult, and unrelenting work. To act in the name of love means to act with patience, respectfulness, and humility. When hate pushes against and looms over some of us, we have the choice to stand together, lock arms, and push back.

 

©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2016.

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Where is God?

Orlando

I woke up Sunday morning knowing that someone filled with hate had killed many people at a nightclub in Los Angeles. My son and his girlfriend happened to be house hunting in the Los Angeles area this weekend, and I wanted to check on them. These two kids are about to move to the Los Angeles area for graduate school, so they could be at a “soft target” on a Saturday night in the future. The thought jolted my groggy brain awake, and I headed for the bathroom.

From my bathroom sink I heard TV reporters talk about the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando. What? Orlando?

So the massacre happened at a nightclub in Orlando, not Los Angeles. Good thing I hadn’t texted my son. But why did I wake up so sure that a massacre had happened in Los Angeles? I could only assume that I had dreamed this happened.

I continued listening to the news as I sipped my coffee and decided what to wear to church. A man had been arrested in a car containing a cache of firearms and chemicals that could be used for explosives. He was on his way to the gay pride parade in Los Angeles. The man did not tell police that he intended to slaughter people at the parade, but he has a previous conviction for intimidation in his home state of Indiana, and he was ordered to surrender all his weapons in that state.

How many more murders would have happened if this man had not been arrested in Santa Monica?

People wonder why God allows so much evil and suffering to happen. Theologians write countless pages in books about this topic. Jesuits spend countless numbers of hours discussing this in religion classes. God gave human beings free will. Human beings allow evil and suffering to happen, not God.

What we truly don’t know is how much evil and suffering God spares us. How many instances – big and small, personal and global – are we unaware of when God has mercifully stopped even worse things from happening?

Faith allows belief despite the lack of visible proof. Gratitude should encompass more than the things we can see. So where is God? Everywhere. Working in ways we can’t fathom.

 

©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2016.

 

 

Let the Selecting be Done in Heaven

Hawaiian Proverb

Hawaiian Proverb

 

If I had to guess how God uses disappointment to teach us, I would guess based on my experience as a parent. People always seem to say that it’s harder to watch their children suffer than to suffer themselves. I believe them. As a mom, I often wish I could take away the sting of disappointment that I see hurting my children, but I’ve learned also that disappointments can be blessings in disguise.

There were times when a goal seemed harder to accomplish than I thought it would be. The road was paved with frustration, testing my limited patience. When I eventually succeeded, I was better off for having had my desire and determination fired in the kiln. I appreciated what I got all the more, and I was less likely to take it for granted.

Other goals didn’t come my way ever, or haven’t yet. Different things came unexpectedly in their place. There were the unusual and eye-opening experiences that I wouldn’t have known had my path gone as I wanted. There were the quirky but wonderful people who taught me something valuable while I was stuck in some place or phase in my life. There have even been moments when I could actually see that I had grown as a person while I thought I was idling away, stagnating.

Was God stalling me to give me time to rethink what I wanted? Was He saving me from myself, as a parent often does for a child?

Was God gently presenting me with other goals and tasks that He wanted me to accomplish instead?

While I was busy working and praying for the things I wanted, was God busy giving me the things I needed first or needed more? And when God is done doing what He needs to do with me, if He gives me what I wanted at one distant point in my life, will I still want it or need it?

I think God wants me to set goals and to work hard. I think God wants me to pray. But I also think God wants me to trust Him to use disappointment as a tool to teach me. I’ve made enough mistakes to know that His plans work out far better than any of mine. I’ve witnessed God’s generosity enough to know that He always gives us more than we ask for.

So I’ll let the selecting be done in heaven. And I’ll pray for the grace to take life as it comes.

 

© Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2015. Photograph by Writing Wahine, 2015.

 

His Voice and Touch in Nature

Who covers the heaven with clouds,

Who prepares rain for the earth,

Who makes grass to grow upon the mountains.

Ka Mea i uhi i ka lani i nā ao,

Ka Mea i ho’omākaukau i ka ua no ka honua,

Ka mea i ho’oulu mai i ka mau’u, ma luna o nā mauna.

Psalms 147:8

I never regret taking the time to stop and admire nature’s beauty and power. No matter how tired I might get during a drive, no matter how much I want to maintain a certain pace during a walk, no matter how anxious I might be to get to my destination, the magnificence of Creation is always an open invitation worthy of acceptance.

Nature has the power to take my focus off whatever worries I have. It resets my perspective to a healthy balance. It gives me an opportunity to appreciate and to be grateful that I’m breathing, that I’m walking, that I can see, that I can hear, that I can touch.

These pauses are important moments of reflection and connection. I focus on what’s vital in my life, and I connect with the Creator who made everything and everyone, the Creator who does not lose sight of me despite the unfathomable vastness of His Creation.

© Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2015. Photograph of Emigrant Gap, CA, by Writing Wahine, 2015.