(GENDUSA COLUMN) Love: The word in the shadows

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

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She stood on the cold tile floor of the train station surrounded by luggage that appeared taller than her actual height. She held a sign just below her soft brown eyes as she looked up to the photographer who captured her. The sign read, “Poland, best frind!” She may not know how to spell ‘friend,’ but this Ukrainian child understands more about evil oppression than most of us will ever comprehend.

My friends’ parents and in-laws were at the train station in Poland when they noticed the little girl.  They witnessed tears as if they seemed to fall in slow motion on the faces of countless refugees. When the weary travelers stepped off crowded trains, Poland’s compassionate citizens greeted them with their own signs. “We can take a mother and three children.” Or, “We have room for a family of four.” Humanity united to form a chain of love, goodness and mercy to give complete strangers relief.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian fathers and husbands are in their homeland trying to fend off the opposite of good, the attacker, Vladimir Putin. These Ukrainian men understand courage, dignity, and sacrifice are required to combat evil. They may lose the battle, but they will be victorious in the end.

I watch the news several times a day to see a war rage in a world I know little about. My friends ask, “Lynn, how can you watch such horror as much as you do?  It’s depressing.”   

“I feel we must watch because it is how we learn what depravity is and when we ignore it, how fast it will grow. At the very least, we can be courageous enough to cry with the victims of such corruption and pray earnestly for them.”

Our comfortability is a non-issue compared to the plight of the citizens of Ukraine.  America’s political and social division does not resemble the potential loss of freedom and the countless lives lost due to tyranny. 

If we learn nothing else from witnessing these March days, we must understand we are blessed to be here in this place called America.  Yes, evil does roam here, but we, so far, have not let it consume us.  And it never will if we do not lose our souls, our hearts, and be a “frind” to those who need us.

Frankly, these last few years, after witnessing pals become enemies over political differences, folks battle over a lethal disease, and rising violence, I thought God might just walk away and leave us to fend for ourselves.  I guess that is why I write so much about human kindness and how love can save us. 

“Love.” The word is often placed in the shadows as namby-pamby, too sensitive, not reality, and blah, blah. Anger fueled by hatred creates louder words, instilling fear and division. Those who espouse such emotions often obtain fame and rake in angry supporters’ money to gain power.

Presumed intellectuals opine over every facet of our lives but speak little about love, harmony, and understanding. Are they incapable of such deep thought?

Bullying, rudeness, lack of decorum, and loss of civility have reached epic proportions spread by social media, political leaders, and talking heads in the last few years. And, folks, no matter how one tries to twist such behavior into a cause or for a greater good, it will never work. 

What is more powerful than hate? What did the leader of all humankind mean when he demanded, “love one another?” Babies die without love, and so does our spirit.  Love is the most potent weapon we embody to prevent the annihilation of humanity. If we have no love for others or God, we are nothing but that old-sounding cymbal.

A person without love shows no compassion.

Their hearts are hardened to suffering and pain, and their souls are lost. Those filled with loathing cannot hear God because their loud voices drown his whispers. These evildoers choose not to respectfully speak of goodness because power is more important. And when their influence continues to thrive unchecked, a Hitler or Putin rises to destroy.    

A dictator may win a war through hatred but will always be despised in the end.  May we understand our behavior is measured each day. How we love counts.

Do you know what matters most in our world? Our love for God and love for our family and “frinds.” Love: the word in the shadows that must become the light.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.”