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November 26, 2014

“Darkness Cannot drive out Darkness; Only Light can do That.”

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In retrospect, I think it’s pretty hard to have a good day that involves projectile vomiting.

I guess I should have expected to be a little bit upset. Actually, though, I wasn’t just a little bit upset—I cried so much that my eyes are still puffy today.

I felt…despair. I felt tired on a deep, deep level. And, sure, it could be a touch of the post-baby blues or just the sheer lack of sleep making my insides feel like a hot, frayed nerve but, equally, life isn’t always easy.

There are periods of life that we just move through, all the while enjoying the process as much as possible but simultaneously knowing that there are better, less challenging times waiting ahead.

I don’t like to fast-forward through my life, even these less than stellar moments, but sometimes I do need to feel that hidden spark of hope. Of light. However small.

And then I get back on social media after a day of not being physically able to care and I see so much, from both sides, about Ferguson. No matter where you stand, this is a historic moment in our country, but being an empathetic feeler, I see this as a pivotal moment—a crucial moment—when the universe is asking us: will we stand together in our sheer common humanity or will we divide?

Will we be Republicans or Democrats?

Will we be black or white?

Rich or poor?

Or will we be mothers?

Will we be siblings and sons and daughters?

Will we just be people who all, generally, want the same things?

I told my sister recently that the reason many parents aim for their children to get married and have kids of their own is because there’s a built in safety net of love that comes with having a small, loving family to call your own. At the same time, there really are no safety nets in life.

Marriages fail. Children die.

Life is not simple, because people aren’t.

But we all have days of projectile vomiting. We all have days when we want to curl up in the fetal position in our beds sobbing violently. And we all have those little sparks of hope. Of compassion. Of change.

So, as I scroll through my social media newsfeed, I become less interested in people’s black-and-white, cut-and-dry, intellectual responses to this groundbreaking moment in our country’s life and more interested in how we humanly respond.

I was holding my daughter before I put her in bed last night and, after such a rough day, it felt physically painful to love her so much. To need her so much. But that same love also inspires me to be a mother to everyone I meet—and I want those who come into contact with me to remember that, some days, I’m just a little girl crying on her pink and turquoise bed.

So, yes, some days—some periods—of life are full of challenges and full of opportunities to share our hearts, our empathy—our kindness.

I’m taking my terrible fall yesterday as a mother and a wife (trust me, I was not pretty to be around; again, probably the projectile vomiting) to remind myself of why, most days, I try so hard to simply be nice. To smile. To speak gently. To remember that not everyone is like me—that, truly, no one is—but that this doesn’t mean we can’t share respect. And hope. And generosity of heart.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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Author: Jennifer White

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr/Gustavo Medde

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