Stop and smell the Roses

I wake up the past few days and see red. Or darkness. And I want to lash out at everything.  Drown in despair. How can you not lose faith? On the home front, I behold treachery and double-dealing, years of being cheated, and the chilling thought of being too late. And last Wednesday in Syria, hundreds of people just like me, and children just like my own, were shelled with weapons so inhuman I shuddered watching a 2-minute footage.

But on the day the thief got caught; I went home to a bunch of flowers.  My children had picked zinnias, birds of paradise and weeds and had bunched them up for me.  I watched them play, assembling dolls out of petals. Stems made up for arms and legs, the zinnia became a head with pink spikes, and the dollies donned yellow bell tutus.

How can you despair at that?  Closer than the home front, there are things that are still pure, and perfect, and good. And despite the evil, your everyday is unfailingly filled with simple joys. And this untainted world is also real.  In front of you. Everyday.  You can blot out red as you wake up. Smell the flowers they bunch up for you.  Behold girls in white petal dresses.

I want to stop being so mad at the world.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King

In this darkness, there are lit-up moments: people in white and marching in unison; crying out for decency; lusting for truth, and finally watching with vigilance. Notice the twinkling lights. I’m seeing sparks everywhere.  And I ought to behold them like my bunch of flowers. Perhaps we are finally waking up. It could have been the thieves, but somebody has roused us from our sleep. We are no longer content loafing about in our comfort zones. And while we wake up to see raging red today, tomorrow we might just root out boldness and courage there.

There’s always a temptation to tarry in the dark, or carry on being mad. We need the dark to ponder and brood about what to do in the daylight. And lashing out is gratifying. It takes a load off of you and you’re finally able to say what you’ve wanted: the good, the bad and the ugly. And you can whip the ones who have wronged you, try to right an injustice. But we can’t stay there.  No one lasts long in the darkness. And you can’t stay enraged endlessly. We need to turn on the lights or find them. And we need to find another way of telling this otherwise despairing story.

“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” Rumi

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