As I write this column, it is a beautiful Monday, Memorial Day morning. The birds sing while American flags proudly display their colors around our neighborhoods across America. Folks prepare for cookouts or a day at the lake and relish time away from work. It is a happy picture of American life, yet there is undeniable grief amid such joy.
Twenty-one white crosses rise from Texas soil, memorializing the children and teachers who died in an explosion of gunfire. A white supremacist killed 10 innocents in a grocery store in New York. Violence injured teens in Tennessee, and an intoxicated boat driver killed a family on a river in Georgia. This is just a brief synopsis of a few weeks in the life of a saddened America.
Why do we seem at a crossroads of either rising above our pain or just giving up? Some events seem too much to bear. Suicides, violence, racism, division, bullying, and complex mental health concerns increase every minute. Why?
I am no minister, scientist, doctor, or counselor, but just a person who believes one thing to be true…. Rising hopelessness is killing our spirits and is a danger to our country.
When people feel hope is gone, there is no one to listen to them, no escape from poverty, and God is missing, evil breeds, and light becomes darkness. Violence is born of hopelessness. Suicide is giving up hope. When people are bigots, they breed division and bullying. People who cause anguish to swell in our society bring us all despair.
Conspiracies, bogus theories, and errant information have contributed to a lack of faith in each other, thus creating more uncertainty and confusion. Too many are so enthused to locate others who agree with their beliefs that they refuse to check the facts before spreading falsehoods.
When our elected officials cannot reach a consensus for the betterment of all Americans, they contribute to the falling spirit of our country. Some politicians are frantically trying to keep their jobs instead of doing their jobs to give others hope in our democracy. I believe, perhaps, the uncompromising two-party system, lack of Congressional term or age limits, and the special interest groups today are becoming destructive to society.
Spread joy not anger
Each week I post my column on my website and on Facebook. While I am on social media, I will scroll to view pictures, read quotes, or see what my pals are doing. One friend posted that because nasty opinions made her so sad, she would instead share poetry to calm her and others down. Another pal from Tennessee always posts images of cool cars or old scenes of American culture. A new grandmother displays her chubby, precious little grandboy with his sparkling blue eyes and a big smile. These shared images bring us joy and harmony because we can identify with each one.
Yet, others are posting rants over policy, collusions, or tirades against anything too liberal or too conservative. Hate groups attempt to topple each other while children also read the ire, filth, and misinformation. So, one gets a like or a love emoji for their diatribe, but do they not understand how words can affect those on the brink of hopelessness? Do they not understand that words can kill?
To defend their actions, they may say, “Oh, I am just trying to help America because I love her!” Do they not love America’s people, or do they just love those who share their views? How does hate aid our nation?
Putting God first
The answer to all hopelessness is God. Perhaps He is letting us see what division, hypocrisy, defiance, bigotry, disease, and war will create in real-time. Don’t we know they all produce pure agony?
Before we spread vitriol, put God first, and soon hopelessness will wither, and faith will rise.
A belief in tomorrow is why soldiers go to war. Our defenders are black, white, Latino, Asian, Republicans, and Democrats who fight together to protect our freedoms. Many give their lives for us to have a sunny day filled with flags flying. Perhaps, before we decide to cause more separation, remember that unity saved America from enemies.
Before we spread more doubt, lend a hand to hope. Help God to build faith not only in Him but in each other. Urge members of Congress to promote goodwill for our citizens so that our children will continue to live in a tolerant democracy.
Let’s try new endeavors, compromise, and respect to give hope a chance. We will continue to live amid darkness where crosses rise from the earth bearing sorrow without us doing our part.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil. To give you a future and hope.” Jerimiah 29:11