For over a week I have been looking for just the right photo to portray the strong emotion and feelings that my words could not adequately convey. I came across this photo that I used several years ago as I began chronicling my "journey" in preparation for my first book "Journey Within My Heart."
If I could express what my heart is feeling it is that one simple word "broken." I watch the news of protests that continue to escalate to riots and violence with such degrading words, rhetoric, and actions so despicable that fringe sides are treating each other worse than animals. I see elderly people being punched in the face simply for their patriotism, police officers being doused with water bottles filled with urine and feces just for doing their job. I read articles and posts that fantasize about our President being assassinated, our First Lady being raped and words about their young son that should never be spoken concerning an innocent child. I see radical groups that call for the death of law enforcement, and other groups that call for the eradication of everyone outside of their race. I see crowds being mowed down in our country and all over the world because of radical beliefs so filled with hate that the murder of others is justified. Youth watch a disabled person drowning and mock him while doing nothing to save his life. A teen girl chides her boyfriend concerning his cowardice in his desire to commit suicide until he finally succeeds. I wonder if I have fallen asleep only to wake in some evil alternate universe or as we used to say the "Twilight Zone."
Where has respect for human life gone? Where is the once mutual belief that their is strength in diversity and civilized discourse and debate? This animalistic behavior has been going on for a long time now and has been normalized because of blind hate. The thing is, we are not born with hate in our hearts. We are born with selfishness to some degree, but not hate. Hate has to be cultivated and conditioned by external factors, circumstances and the actions of people around us. As I watch this venom spewing spectacle day after day, not just shown "on" the media networks but often perpetrated "by" the media networks, I long to not allow it stir up hateful thoughts and emotions in me. Rather, I want to dig a bit deeper and understand it, because it is a given that we often hate, reject or dismiss what we don't understand.
How is it that the most privileged and elite in our society can be the ones stirring up the most hate in those who are not nearly so blessed and privileged? My emotions get the best of me sometimes when I watch the poison pot of hate being stirred by these truly blessed individuals, and I wonder. If someone like me can push back against the tide of hate despite my daily struggles, despite mistreatment and even through times of lack, why is it so difficult for them to reject hate? Why has it become their mission to be the clarion call of hate and division while pretending they are simply justice warriors?
The answer is pretty simple. Hate breeds hate, fear breeds fear, loneliness of the heart only causes more isolation when one dwells on it. In my own hometown, a story broke this week of a little five-year-old boy. He was found dead by high school students several miles from the daycare where he stayed during the day while his mother worked. The report is that the daycare worker who drives the van bringing the children to the facility, left the boy on the van by accident and he died. Instead of notifying the authorities of this horrible mistake, she took the boy's body and discarded it like trash down the road in someone's driveway. Do we have so little respect for human life, so little respect for ourselves that nothing is sacred anymore? Have we walked in political correctness for so long and slid so far down it's slippery slope that there are no absolutes and no true values? Nothing is wrong and everything is wrong all at the same time? Value of human life is reduced to a flea market mentality of "one man's trash is another man's treasure" and vice-versa?
Yes my heart his broken! Broken because of the results of the brokenness in lives - a brokenness that has produced this manifestation of hate. I am broken because of Ashley Judd's sexual abuse early in her life that produced such hatred she feels violated by everyone real and often imagined. I feel broken for Miley Cyrus who went from Christian singer and wholesome Disney sensation to raunchy attention seeking exhibitionist. I wonder what straw finally broke the camel's back to cause her to hate all that she once loved, and even more, hate herself so much to exploit her own body for fame. I am broken because Colin Kaepernick, a hardworking athlete who was given up for adoption by his destitute mother and adopted by a set of loving parents, could be filled with an inexplicable hatred despite being given a real chance at life. I struggle not to have disdain towards him due to his disrespect for the country, the military and even his own parents who sacrificed so much to allow him to fulfill his dream as a player in the NFL. I fail to comprehend how he could be so disrespectful to the very organization and the country that has made him a millionaire and given him a chance to use his talents.
I am broken... by the rise of gang related murders, black on black crime, white fraternity rapes, corporate greed, institutional dismantling of free speech and educational decline of absolutes. I am broken because of millions of the unborn never given a chance at life... snuffed out in the womb because they were an inconvenience. I am broken because of missing children and youth stolen away by greedy and perverted human traffickers. I am broken because a physician's Hippocratic oath is no longer worth the paper it's written on, as wealth and greed causes him to dispense drugs like candy, thus putting unsuspecting patients in bondage to a taskmaster that dooms them to a life of hell on earth or a suicidal escape to literal hell.
I am broken because civil servants, elected officials and intelligence officers who have seared their conscious and developed such a disdain for their office and the very people that put them there, that they sell their soul for power and sell out their country and citizens for self-preservation. I am broken because hardworking Americans have been forced into a healthcare system that has caused them to have to work two jobs, get a second mortgage or even worse give up their homes just to pay their monthly premiums - for an insurance that still doesn't provide the care they need. I am broken because of lost youth who are deceived by an ideology of martyrdom that also requires them to murder those opposed to their beliefs - all in an attempt to find purpose and self-worth that has eluded them. I am broken because of the mass casualties of these brainwashed proselytes of radical Islam. I am broken because of American Evangelical pastors who no longer serve their congregations with the same love that a Father would his children, but rather supervise their staff and treat their members like stock holders of a corporation - the more stock, the more benefits and power.
Now should you feel I am painting life with a somber and dark broad brush I assure you, I am not. You see, it is all of these serious issues in our world and country today that somehow manage to bring out the best in us. When we can be so broken of heart that we weep, it is then that compassion kicks in for those who are the recipient of injustice. It is also then that determination to make a change and a difference kicks in. With both compassion and determination springs hope! It has been said "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger." That theory is being proven each day as ordinary people - members of the "silent majority" find their voice. Whether it is a voice to speak on behalf of the unborn, or a voice to call out the biased critics of our leaders, or the voice of reason against media frenzy or campus hysteria - voices are ringing out, warriors are rising up against anarchy, against hypocrisy and deceit, against lawlessness.
Last week I watched "Will" the fictional series on TNT about the life of William Shakespeare. One line that he spoke to his theatrical crew resonated with me in a profound way. As they prepared to stand up against persecution of Catholics, corruption of leaders and torture of citizens through a play to expose these evil deeds, Shakespeare stated that the oppressors had their weapons but that he and his crew had their words - they would defeat them with their words! For me, this is the hope of a heart that is broken for the evil in our world, the injustice in our society, the diabolical division of our people and destruction of democracy. My hope lies in the voices of those of us who treasure freedom - speaking up and out in unison to call out anarchy, mayhem, and pure madness seeking to destroy us from within.
As a person of faith, I am reminded of the story of a woman who had lived a sorted life. She had an encounter with Jesus as he still walked the earth. Her life had been changed after experiencing acceptance and the love of God. She was so overwhelmed at the freedom she had found in forgiveness and acceptance that she wanted to give back. She had a bottle of expensive oil that she pulled out of an alabaster box. The woman broke open the bottle of oil and began to "anoint" the feet of Jesus - "washing" his feet with the oil and drying them with her hair. The men in the room kept saying "what a waste" because she could've used that oil to sell it for a good price and make money for their cause rather than wasting it on such a trivial act. This woman knew however, where true wealth was found. It wasn't in what she could get because of her freedom but what she could give because of it.
Yes! I want the words in my heart to be totally spilled out with the emotion that drives them. A wise writer in ancient scripture once said "speak the truth in LOVE." Let my broken heart spill out all that is inside and use it like an ointment to heal and unite, restore and renew.