Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love Wins

Beach Heart
For the past ten years, I've lived in a place that is difficult for me.  Whenever I think I've come to accept and/or ignore certain behaviors or mindsets, I realize I really haven't.  Lately, I've been extremely discouraged, especially after the "appreciation day" for a certain fast food chain and by the political demagoguery I've witnessed as the Presidential election draws near.  At our local fast food outlet, I saw what I've been told were well-meaning people, chests puffed with pride, gorging on sandwiches made from tortured chickens and exceeding their daily calorie requirement in one meal (and endangering their health) in the name of "standing up for their beliefs."  It was gluttony at its finest.  Those on the "outside" of this event (i.e., not fundamentalist/evangelical Christians) witnessed this spectacle as nothing less than appalling, as crowds of people went that extra mile to support an organization that would deny basic civil rights to a certain segment of the population.  It was shameful.

And I've started receiving more than the usual number of political "forwards" in my email.  These emails contain false, inflammatory statements crafted to stir up fear in those who are simple-minded and spread by those who neglect to actually investigate the claims.  They make me want to weep.  And I find myself feeling hate and anger towards people sporting certain bumper stickers on their vehicles.  Or I suspiciously eye the people around me when I'm out in public, guessing that they are the kind of people who spread hateful lies or tell themselves that their activities are really "love the sinner, hate the sin" kind of actions.  I'm not feeling the love.

My blogger friend Lisa, of Retro Housewife Goes Green, has also been discouraged.  She has worked tirelessly to bring recycling and other green initiatives to her community, only to see her efforts ignored.  I understand her frustration and feel her pain.  (By the way, if you're interested in sustainability and want to be encouraged by what the younger generation is doing, head over to her blog and follow her.)

When I get to this point of defeat and dispair, I sometimes listen to a song by a contemporary Christian band, the Robbie Seay Band.  I thought I'd share the lyrics here, because  I believe people of any faith background can appreciate what this song says:

Love Wins

It’s a big world, we are hoping
For a big change, we are broken
In the fading light of a dying sun
We cry for redemption

There is hope, there is hope, there is hope
But everyone who’s lost will be coming home
And everything that hurts will be whole again
And love will be the last thing standing

Can’t stop, you can’t stop the seasons
Don’t stop, don’t stop believing
Keep on dreaming of the day when it all will change
Believe in the end, love wins
If you’re waiting for the time when your sun will shine
Oh, look above cause love wins

If it hurts you, just breathe in
When it pains you, just believe in
The radiant light of the morning sun
We can find our redemption

Love is strong, love is strong, love is strong
It's been there holding you all along
Everything thrown away will be new again
And love will be the last thing standing

There is hope, there is hope for my lonely soul
There is hope, there is hope to be made whole
There is life, there is life to be set free
There is life, there is life surrounding me

There is hope, there is hope for my broken heart
There is hope, there is hope for a brand new start
There is life, there is life give me eyes to see
There is life, there is life you have captured me

Earlier this week I was reading Teresa Evangeline's blog and something in it really spoke to me.  She talked of small towns and how she once avoided them.  But then she realized "it wasn't the small towns themselves I wanted to leave behind, it was the mindset that seemed to go with them."  That's where I find myself, over and over again, in this small corner of the world.  But her conclusion gave me something to consider.  She found that "the mindset might still exist - in my own small town I see evidence of it with a certain regularity - but I've gotten to the place where it no longer matters.  What matters is the mindset I have for my own life."

So now I'm working on my own mindset, moving above and beyond where I happen to dwell and moving on to the realm of possibilities for me.  To discover that love wins in my own life.


shoreacres said...

Well. You've just told me I'm prideful, gluttonous, and tolerant of torture. Not only that, I don't care for my health, consume far more food than is good or necessary in one sitting, and am willing to engage in appalling and shameful behavior to deny people their rights.

Oh - and I'm a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian.

Well, I suppose the evangelical is right, since I'm a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Beyond that - I don't see myself in your description, even though I was at Chick-Fil-A on that particular day.

I went for the same reason most of my friends did - to support the right of the owner to close on Sunday if he chooses, support whatever groups he chooses, and speak freely about his beliefs. As long as he doesn't discriminate in hiring or promotion, encourages a healthy and accepting work environment and treats every employee as a person worthy of respect, I have no problem with him expressing his personal beliefs. I saw the whole kerfluffle as a first amendment issue, despite others' attempts to turn it into something else.

I will say this - as a well-educated, business-owning white woman, I rarely have the opportunity to experience being stereotyped. So, I thank you for that.

And by the way - my lunch that day was a grilled chicken salad and a diet lemonade. Total calories: 200

Cherie said...

Shoreacres, this post was not intended to stereotype. It expresses my frustration and was based on a number of things: my personal observations and conversations in my community during that week and on that day; my grad school research on the obesity epidemic (which, by the way, is extremely bad in my area)and the nutritional dangers of fast food; my understanding of the heinous treatment of animals in the meat and poultry industries; and comments made by church members and pastors in my area. I was sharing what I saw and heard and how I didn't like the way I was reacting. And that I wanted to find a better way.

shoreacres said...

Clearly, my emotions clouded my vision a bit this morning. Just as clearly, I was responding not only to you but also to a world of others who are beginning to get on my last nerve.

What's obvious tonight is that both your post and my comment were shaped by our experiences. Because of some recent experiences, I got "stuck" on one issue, and completely bypassed areas where I suspect we share substantial agreement, e.g. the dangers of fast food, treatment of animals, and so on.

The next time I come by, I'll try to find a better way to express myself. ;)

Deanna said...

I share your frustration, Cherie. I think I'll just leave at that. ;)