This morning I woke up with my family in Newport Beach. We went on a walk, got ready for church, worshiped God, went to the beach and hung out all day together. I woke up grateful to be with them, happy to be in a beautiful city, and was full of peace to finally be able to take a step out of the normal grind and chaos of our current life to enjoy a quiet week together. I’ve made sure this week that I’m disconnected from outside influence and noise, and only have used my phone for an occasional work email or to post a photo, other than that, I have made an effort to just BE, and not worry about anything else going on.
I posted a photo of part of my morning, with the caption, “Happy Sunday.”
What followed my Instagram post made my head spin and think and learn all day. One of the comments made was this,
“There’s nothing happy about today. I follow you but so disappointed this is your first post today considering the US just had the worst mass shooting in US history.
To start, my heart and mind and love goes out to everyone affected by the horrific tragedy that occurred today. It’s senseless, and as much as I try to figure out why and how and what’s next, there are no concrete answers. The current evil that swept over Orlando this morning is out there, everywhere. And I think that’s what makes it all so painful and so frightening. What happened today isn’t an isolated incident, but is an act that transpires every. single. day. around the entire world.
It’s hatred. It’s wickedness. It’s pure evil.
I’ve learned something about evilness. It’s dark. It tries to wrap it’s cold fingers around any ounce of light it can get its hands on, and squeezes until there’s nothing left inside. It holds prejudice on happiness and truth, and lingers around as long as it can until it inflicts enough fear and pain on the joy in it’s midst, that the goodness is replaced with with terror, intolerance, and shattered hearts.
We live in a time where wars and rumors of wars surround us. Thousands and thousands of people have lost their homes and lives to wickedness and the pursuit of power. Gun violence and drugs and abuse are completely rampant. Ruining communities, and cities, and individual people’s lives.
Here’s the hard part. Here’s where a choice lies in our lives. A choice that is so big, so deep, and so profound that I think I will spend the rest of my life having to make a concerted effort to rededicate myself to it.
We have the choice to allow evil to creep in, to make us afraid, to instill feelings of hate and anxiety in our hearts…
we have the choice to be happy.
If our daily happiness was supposed to be a result of the pain around us, then nobody would ever have the slightest shimmer of opportunity to feel joy. Evil and hatred win if we submit ourselves to the very thing it wants us to feel, and we loose our light.
It’s our choice on how we feel, but I will also add, that our entire destiny lies inside of what we end up choosing.
Do we choose in getting sucked up in negative and uncontrollable panic? Or do we fight it?
I choose to fight it.
I choose to fight it for my family. I choose to fight it for my kids and for the motherless. I choose to fight it for the hundreds of thousands of people who look to me to help them get through their days, and I choose to fight it because I believe that is what I am called to do. I believe it’s what everyone is called to do, but evilness takes some captive and makes them forget that.
We must not feel guilty or ashamed for the happiness and light we carry around with us. Not today, not ever.
What we must do, is use our light to carry those who need extra strength. We must use what we have to pour love over those who are personally affected by tragedies across the world, even when we don’t know them. We must use our power for goodness to cause change, to stand up for truth when most would retreat, and to be the force that stands between evil and the things we love the most.
There’s another thing about wickedness that I want to point out. It’s main weapon is us.
Yes, it’s main weapon is you, and it’s me.
It uses us to try to make us go against each other. It uses us to create conflict and anger. It convinces us that we’re right, and they’re wrong, and in doing so, makes everyone so confused and inflicted with the disease of hatred, that it makes us loose sight on what it really is we’re needing to fight against. What we’re needing to fight against isn’t each other. It isn’t the person with a different idea, or way of expressing themselves, or the people who love the color blue when yours is pink… That’s not what our energy needs to go in arguing about.
What we’re needing to fight against can’t be done alone. It can only be done together. Otherwise, we will never win.
Today, choose happiness. Spread your light. Pick up the broken hearted. Spread the message of hope and peace and love. Start saving the world around you by first saving your own heart from the negative influences that want to destroy it, and do that by vowing that today, and forever, you won’t allow evilness to dim your shine.