Only someone who has been torn down to nothing can fully appreciate getting back up and pressing onward. Only someone who has been wounded to the core of their being can understand the slow process of healing. People who have been through desperate trials and have come through the other side possess a wisdom and regard for life that fills us with soft light. We often recognize each other with little more than a glance and subtle nod. I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill heartache or grief. Everyone goes through that stuff, and while it usually grows and matures the individual, it rarely fills them with the soft light. For it, I’m talking specifically about the people who have been through overwhelming grief, complete loss of self, or a literal near death experience. Those of us who have been through those fires and come out reforged as better human beings understand and relish life differently from most. Today, I’m asking my friends and readers who have been through those difficulties to step forward and help our country heal.
America is wounded right now, not just from the attack in Boston but from decades of political divisiveness and economic stagnation. As a nation, we are hurt and angry and on the verge of a complete breakdown. Our so-called leaders have failed us, concerning themselves more with special interests for the few than the well-being of the many. The church has failed us, focusing more on homosexuality than the care of the needy. Corporations have failed us, attending more to short-term profits than long-term sustainability. We as American citizens cannot count on these entities to help us rekindle and heal the American spirit. That onus falls to us as individuals, especially those of us who have survived real ordeals. We must reach out to each other on a personal level and communicate as individual human beings.
I ask each of you who understands what I’m talking about to reach out to someone in your community who opposes your viewpoint and have a real conversation with them. Not a political shouting match but a basic conversation about their children or grandchildren or jobs or dreams. Don’t push your ideology on them. Just listen. Share a story from your life. Those of us who have been through real ordeals can do a lot to help heal our communities by reaching out to those around us because we understand that healing doesn’t come from external sources. It comes from the inside, and the only way we will heal as a nation is on a grassroots level. It must begin with individuals.
Whatever darkness we now face, we can overcome it. People have faced much worse in the past. Whatever fractures in our society can be mended if enough individuals reach out to each other and find common ground. There may be difficult times ahead, but the basic human desire for individual freedom is still alive. The Civil Rights movement taught us that kindness and compassion can be contagious and are the best weapons against darkness and anger. Those of us who are filled with the soft light already know this, and it is our time to push back against the forces that want to rob us of our liberties and drown us in fear. Those of us who still believe in the promise of America must come together, regardless of political ideology, and help each other heal. The soft light is a powerful force. If you have it, now is the hour to let it shine.