Currently, our country is in turmoil. We are divided into groups, all of us struggling to find our own version of hope, joy and fulfillment. We’ve separated ourselves as if there was this idea that if one group finds it, no one else can – or worse, no one else should. Whether or not we belong to a particular group, we all have connections to others.
There are many groups I belong to (the African American Community, those with mental illness, Methodists). I have connections to others (The LGBTQ Community, the Homeless). Then there are the groups I support, simply because they need support but I have no personal connection (Restaurant Workers). All of these different groups intertwine themselves in my life and one group is not more important than the others. Some are more central to my life and some are peripheral. I may support some more than others with my time and finances but that does not lessen the importance or need of the others. It is the same in your life. There are many different groups in your life. You may not even know it. Some groups don't wear their membership as a badge.
Have we learned nothing from history? We have example after example of hatred and bigotry getting out of control: the holocaust, the Japanese internment camps, the invasion of Native American lands and attempts to assimilate and annihilate their culture. All because one group thought their way was right and everyone else was wrong. And the irony is many times the groups that hate were at one time the hated. Will we ever learn?
I don’t mean to preach but I do mean to encourage. I encourage you to embrace the goodness in yourself and the goodness in others. Do not condemn yourself for any perceived weakness nor should you condemn others for theirs. If you feel slighted by another group, I am not saying ignore the slight but look to history again. When I think of those who have attempted to gain respect by force, it has only made situations more volatile with even more hurt left behind. But when I think of those who gained respect by peaceful means – Martin Luther King, Jr; Nelson Mandela; Mahatma Ghandi; Mother Theresa – not only did they radically change the world but they left love as the aftermath.
My goal is to provide encouragement for those struggling with life to find hope, joy and fulfillment. My current focus is those who have mental illness but really I want to connect with everyone to improve their life. Those who have mental illness have an added layer of challenge to finding that fulfillment but everyone – who is honest with themselves – struggles at one time or another. Hope, joy and fulfillment do not sit side-by-side with hate. Hate eats away at all that is good. We must embrace love. It is so cliche and yet so true: Love will bring us all together.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8 New International Version