After seeing the aftermath of the Oslo, Norway bombing on TV and hearing about the people who were gunned down at a Norwegian youth camp on Friday, I immediately thought of the profound Marvin Gaye song “What’s Going On”.
Similar thoughts echoed in my mind on 9/11 in New York City as I was there on that horrific day. Those lyrics helped to sooth my soul in my Brooklyn apartment that morning.
When our complex world rears its ugly head, a song’s eloquent words can be uplifting.
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today
(video of Marvin singing)
The terror could be as large as the 2004 Madrid, Spain bombing or Oklahoma City, USA in 1995. Or it might arise insidiously, like the evil nature of numerous banking organizations - companies that were instrumental in creating the worldwide financial crises. It could be the racism of a father who threatened to disown his daughter if she continued to see me or the evilness shown between members of the same family. It could also be the hate of a dictator ruining a nation or a government that cares more about its wealthy citizens than the vast majority of poor/unemployed people.
We won’t all agree on the whys of such hate and terror although it's safe to say that people who engage in these types of evil acts probably didn’t receive enough love in their childhood or formative teenage years.
When people want to know what they can do to help improve the world or contribute in times of crises, I usually let them know that loving more frequently or deeply can help our children, families, friends and the world in ways we might never imagine.
I’m a loving man who was fortunate to have loving parents although I know I need to do more……we all need to do more. Giving of one’s time or financial donations to those less fortunate is crucial although providing love consistently throughout our daily lives is just as important.
Unfortunately, terrorism is here to stay and hate will always be around. So what can we do to combat it?
In my opinion, the most important act of love for fighting hate is to ensure that we are loving our own children as much as possible so they will be grow up to be good, secure and happy people - individuals that will make positive contributions in their future years.
Secondly, we must be aware of our daily actions. We should be more conscious of how we treat people whether we know them or not, the manner in which we judge others, the way we use our words (verbally or written) and the impact we have on our children or youth. You can always look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I loving enough?”
The little acts of love can mean a lot.
Recently, I've been giving my young son and daughter a kiss and hug every morning when I wake up. I haven’t always done that but I plan to make it a ritual. That little act of love usually brightens up both of our days and can only help in making my children more loving and secure.
Big acts of love are a necessity as well especially with positive leaders that can make a difference. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela changed our world for the better and the central theme of how they went about helping others and fighting inequality was based in love. Mandela spent 27 years in jail and came out a loving man; that fact is never far from my mind and inspires me.
Where are the future Dr. King's and Mandela’s? Are they even out there? We may never see men with their loving power again although we need courageous and ethical leaders who can fight for the injustice and hate that is far too prevalent around the globe.
When the world makes you wonder “What’s Going On”, fight back with a tiny, small or big dose of LOVE in any way you feel might make a difference. Love your children, Love others and spread Love whenever and wherever you can. In addition, be grateful for the love you have in your life - as we know, it can be gone in a heartbeat.
So many lost souls slip through the cracks and into the abyss when all they might have needed was the comforting touch of a caring person in their life.
If you know a troubled soul (family or otherwise) that can be helped by your intervention, don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand. Your outreach may push him/her in a positive direction and prevent them from committing future acts of violence like the gunman who killed those innocent souls in Norway.
Marvin on judgement:
Father, father, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
I implore you to listen to “What’s Going On” (video link above) and remember to keep love glowing brightly and passionately in your heart.
Only Love can Conquer Hate.
Happy Gswede Sunday!