“Weep not for me; but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Those words have been haunting me for the past 24 hours. I hear them in the silence. I see them being said when I close my eyes. To whom were these words directed? What do they mean? Of course, they were being said to the women of Jerusalem who wept for Jesus along the Way of Sorrows; but they were directed, not only to those women, but to all future generations, to all of us. Many of us worry about our futures, about our children, and about this world. What will happen? What can we do? Those questions lead me to another familiar set of words that are perhaps more important to keep in mind: “Make me a channel of your peace” (Prayer of St. Francis). I realize it takes more than just one person to make a change in this world as big as the one we need, but didn’t it also take just one person to start the ball rolling towards violence and hate? Every road to hate begins with just one person, one remark made from a high office, from a protest march, from a political stage, even from an altar. Once one person begins spewing hate and destruction, isn’t it just one small step for others to jump on the bandwagon? And no matter how many voices are shouting in hate, it only takes one person to carry it out. It took one person to assassinate Lincoln, one person to assassinate Kennedy, one person to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr, one person to shoot Ronald Reagan. So why can’t it take just one person to begin the journey toward peace?
We are raising our children in a world filled with hate. This hate is not being bred. People are not born evil; they become evil, often due to the people and circumstances around them. There is no “evil gene,” no “hate gene.” Every person, event, book, movie, experience that a person has, shapes the person they become. What are we teaching our children when we talk about others, mock others, put others down? What are we teaching our children when we turn our backs on those in need? What are we teaching our children when we act like we are better, know more, deserve more than other people? In the same vein, what are we teaching our children when we hand them everything and make them work for nothing, when we don’t teach them what it is to value someone or something? When are we going to realize that everybody around us watches everything we do and listens to everything we say? When are we going to realize that each one of us has the ability to make an impact on somebody else, both good and bad?
As we enter the holiest time of the year in the Christian calendar, let us all remember that each one of us has the ability to rise above our station. Each one of us is capable of being a good example, of lending a helping hand, of biting our tongue, of bringing peace and calm to a situation. Each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God and can move past our human weaknesses if we are open to the Spirit. Each one of us commits sin and carries his or her own cross but is worthy of forgiveness and the rise to Glory. So no matter how badly the world is falling apart around you, smile, be kind, offer words of encouragement and love, and bring light to a world that every day seems to be more filled with darkness.
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015)