A white man walked into a church…

but, this is no f*cking joke, people.

this is for freaking real.

a white man walked into an african methodist episcopal church in charleston, south carolina last night and killed nine people. murdered them. because they were black.

charleston shooting

photo from cnn.com

i’m so pissed. and so exhausted. sick from all of the violence. all of the hate.

how many people have to be killed before we wake up? how much more hate can we tolerate? and, honestly, what the hell can we do about it?

if i continue typing right now, i’ll just say the same things over + over again. so, i’m gonna let you read my friend’s (alex), words instead. this is from her post on Facebook. she nailed it.

“What the fuck is wrong with people?! I’m angry. I’m tired of compassion. I’m tired of forgiveness. I’m tired of empathy. Because it’s not fucking working. Saying, “We’ve come so far since the 50s and 60s” is just an excuse in my eyes at this point. Because this is unacceptable. Hate crimes are unacceptable. Police brutality is unacceptable. Racial profiling is unacceptable. Less pay for equal work is unacceptable. Sideways glances are unacceptable.

If you’re sitting on your couch thinking, “Well at least they can vote and go to the same schools and not be turned away for service at a restaurant and live in peace.” WAKE THE FUCK [UP]. We have Voter ID bills passing in state legislation left and right — to disenfranchise minority voters. We have gerrymandered school districts and poverty stricken areas of cities that have underfunded schools and teachers from the bottom of the barrel because we don’t pay them enough to care — all of which are serving a majority of the minority population. We have religious freedom bills passing all over the place that will undoubtedly be used by racist, hate-filled business owners and employees against people because of the color of their skin. AND PEOPLE ARE BEING MURDERED. All of the time.

So stop saying things are better than they were fifty years ago and then doing nothing because you figure it’ll work itself out. Stand up for ALL your neighbors. Stand up when you hear a friend say something racist. Stand up to YOUR OWN racist thoughts and actions. Have those uncomfortable conversations with people. Go to vigils for our fallen friends and neighbors of all races. Show up. Be a warm body in the crowd. Otherwise there’s going to be even more cold bodies dead in the streets and you on your couch running out of excuses.

I mourn these losses in Charleston. And I’m again invigorated to see this through to the other side. Because I believe it’s possible. But it will take every single one of us standing up for what is right in order to make it happen. Are you willing to be a part of this movement?”

you know, it’s infuriating. it’s mind-boggling. and it leaves me feeling helpless + overwhelmed.

but, there is something that we can do. there is something that you can do. there is something that i can do.

black lives matter (1)

photo from my trip to washington, dc in january

i’m talking to you, my fellow americans; and to you, my fellow swedes (where the racist party just keeps growing in numbers in sweden), and to you, my fellow global brothers + sisters.

it doesn’t matter how big or how little your gesture is, just spread the love. spread the peace. make a fucking difference in your life. shine a little light somewhere. anywhere. lead a revolution or just share a smile. but, just freaking do something. (mind you, i’m talking to myself too).

things can change. it is possible. it really, really, really is.

so, join the movement.

spread a message of love and live a life that reflects the belief that ALL LIVES MATTER. let us create together a better, safer, more tolerate, peaceful, just, equal world. it’s time for a change.

i’m in. are you?

onwards + upwards! xoxo

one question i will never have to ask: [am i next?]

take your time, dear friends, and let these last words sink in. just listen. and feel.


John Crawford was holding a toy gun as he stood in the toy section of a Walmart. Before the police shot him to death in that same aisle, John managed to say, “It’s not real.” But it was too late for John.


Sean Bell was going to get married. One night, he was driving away from his bachelor party with his friends, Joseph and Trent. Suddenly, he hit a minivanFour undercover police officers from the minivan began to shoot at them without warning, firing a total of 50 bullets at the three unarmed men. A wounded Joseph turned to Sean and said, “S, I love you, son.” Sean’s reply: “I love you, too.” Joseph and Trent survived, but their best friend, Sean, didn’t make it.


One of the witnesses in the Trayvon Martin trial, Rachel Jeantel, was on the phone with Trayvon moments before the scuffle with George Zimmerman that ended his life. One of the last things she heard the unarmed Trayvon say to the man who was following him with a gun that fateful night: “Why are you following me for?”


Michael Brown died August 2014. Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot him at least six times, twice in the head. Michael was not armed. His friend and eyewitness reported that Michael said: “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.” Minutes later, he was on the ground, bleeding. Dr. Michael M. Baden, the man who did Michael’s autopsy, told the New York Times, “In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times.'”


Amadou Diallo died right outside his own apartment in the Bronx. He was unarmed. Four police officers shot 41 bullets, hitting Amadou 19 times. Later, they claimed that they had mistaken Amadou for a serial rapist. That same day, some of the last words he said to his mother as he spoke over the phone were, “Mom, I’m going to college.”


Eric Garner died July 2014. He was unarmed. Police officers were trying to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Eric suffered from asthma, and as a police officer put his arm around Eric’s neck during the arrest, he managed to gasp, “I can’t breathe!” The New York City medical examiner’s office ruled Eric’s death a homicide, pointing out that the officer’s chokehold might have been a big factor.


Jonathan Ferrell had been in a traffic accident and was knocking on a homeowner’s door for help. He was unarmed. An attorney later described a video of the incident, which reportedly showed that when police officers approached Jonathan, he was holding his hands out in a non-threatening manner. The police officers never identified themselves. One of them fired 12 times, and 10 of those bullets hit him. Even as Jonathan lay on the ground, bleeding and dying from 10 gunshot wounds, the officers handcuffed him. Jonathan’s dead body remained handcuffed all the way to the medical examiner’s office.

Correction: In the case of Jonathan Ferrell, there has not yet been a trial. The case is still pending. And in the video, which has not yet been shown to the public, only one police officer fired on Ferrell, not all three.


Oscar Grant was on a subway train in Oakland when a police officer forced him out of the car and onto the subway platform. Oscar was lying down when a second police officer shot a bullet into his back. “You shot me! You shot me!” Oscar yelled before he died. That officer later testified that he meant to use his Taser on Oscar instead of his handgun. A court later ruled that the two had no legal reason to get Oscar — who was unarmed — off the train.


Kimani Gray was standing on a street in Brooklyn when police officers approached him. The officers claimed that when they approached Kimani, he pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at them. But one eyewitness, Tishana King, said Kimani never pointed a gun. She also said the police officers didn’t identify themselves when they approached. Police officers shot Kimani at least seven times, even though Kimani hadn’t shot a single bullet. One witness said some of Kimani’s last words were, “Please don’t let me die.”


Kendrec McDade died after a man called Oscar Carillo made a phony 911 call, telling police officers that he had just been the victim of an armed robbery. He later admitted that he had lied about the guns. The two officers eventually found Kendrec in an alleyway. They began shooting after Kendrec apparently moved his hands to his waistband. But Kendrec didn’t have a gun on him. All he had was a cellphone in his pocket. Court documents show that Kendrec’s last words were, “Why did you shoot me?”

as if all of the images + words above have not truly angered me enough, now i want to share a video. a powerful video. please… take the time to watch it. here is a little insight into why people are protesting around the country, especially in ferguson, missouri after last night’s verdict that there will be no charges for the killing of young michael brown. it’s people trying to make their voices heard. it’s people, young + old, who have to live every day of their lives wondering if the same thing will happen to them.

friends, it is time for a conversation. a real conversation. things cannot continue like this. i am angry. and sad. and embarrassed that such blatant injustice still exists. however, i do not condone violence in any way or in any form. so, the violence occuring surrounding the protests, is not the way to achieve the goal. if only we had martin luther king, jr. to lead us right now. please know, you may disagree with me and you may not think that the people who are protesting should be protesting… that’s fine. all i am saying is this: we need to begin talking about this. and not only talking, but listening. without judging. it’s time to dig deep and honor our humanity. can’t we do that? please?

all of the photos and stories are from an upworthy article that you can find {here}.

spread love + light xx

the sochi effect

9e95b9c5460c816b632aab3d6c605c73 it’s time for the olympics. the winter ones, of course. and i’m semi-excited. ok. i’m not really excited at all. but, i know me. and as soon as news networks and twitter and Facebook friends begin posting stuff about the olympics, i will climb on board the olympic excitement train and get all caught up in curling (who knew that existed before the previous olympics?), figure skating, snowboarding, speed skating, and other events. and, as i do every olympics, the opening ceremonies will cause a tear to fall down my cheek. that is always a great moment of global unity, in my opinion.

but, this year, there is much, much more on my mind as well. and, maybe i will not climb on the olympic spirit train…

i suppose you could say that it’s hesitation. and concern. now, i’ve never been to russia so i know nothing about it first-hand. and i try not to judge a country i have not visited because they can be so completely different than expected – in good and bad ways. at least that’s what i’ve experienced. but, i must admit it, i am worried. scared, even. and, of course, i am angry.

right now all of the news seems to be about whether sochi is ready to host the olympics or not. can they handle the crowds? will there be violence or terrorism? on the news today there were reports that the accommodations for athletes are not up to par. the photos they showed were of fairly bare rooms, with toilets that you cannot put toilet paper in. instead, you use the trash can for the paper.

my first reaction to the “sub-par” conditions at hotels and such is this: suck it up. you are in another country and things will not be like they are at home. that’s what happens in different countries. and it is one of the beauties of travel – experiencing different cultures and ways of life, seeing how other people live, discovering and exploring. but, you must do this with an open mind. and with the expectation that things will not be the same. this is an adventure, and you will have stories galore to tell. not to mention, you will learn so much about yourself.

now, there is another issue that hits much more closely to home for me and you all have heard about it, i’m sure: LGBT rights. in russia, it is now illegal to be gay. and, from what i have read and seen, it is completely acceptable to bully, attack, and beat up any gay person or ally. it’s just horrible. ridiculous. and sickening.

and so, i am having a hard time reconciling the olympics (a global, unifying event) being in  this country where not all people are accepted. i could go on and on, but instead, i am going to leave you with a video. a very, very, very disturbing video. it is very graphic, so if you are sensitive, do not watch it. instead, read this article from gq:


but, if you think you can handle it, here is the video. it is so important for us to be aware. warning! graphic & disturbing!
[brightcove vid=3151343552001&exp3=58264559001&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=78144477&pk=AQ~~,AAAAAASoY90~,_gW1ZHvKG_0UvBsh7aZU7MXZe77OcsGq&lbu=http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/02/04/hrw_lgbtq_violence_human_rights_watch_releases_disturbing_video_of_violence.html&w=480&h=270]

peace, love, and equality. xx

i will always believe that peace is the answer.


i am a news junkie. or nerd. or whatever you want to call me. and on sunday mornings in the states, if i’m home, i like to watch all the sunday morning talk shows. as depressing and skewed and manipulative it may be, i want to be informed. of course, i don’t just rely on the mainstream media to get my news. i also listen to/read independent newspapers/sources. i read commentary and try to listen to global perspectives as well. but, on sunday mornings, i catch up with good ole american sunday morning talk shows = news talk shows.

this past sunday, i did just that. i made a pot of coffee and sat down to hear the latest on syria. something that is on my mind pretty much constantly these days. how in the world have we found ourselves (the usa) in the place AGAIN, where we think we have to flex our muscles, be the police of the world, and intervene (perhaps on our own) militarily in another country’s conflict? not that we shouldn’t intervene. we most definitely should. what is happening in syria is tragic and inhumane. but, perhaps, if we can find the money to station destroyers in the mediterranean and send missiles to syria, then we could find the money (= use the same money) for the millions of syrian refugees living in horrible conditions instead. perhaps we could save lives instead of killing them.

oh, i know that this is a complicated (understatement!) situation, but something about it is simple. at least in my idealistic, theological mind. it’s about humanity. and then ends justifying the means. which in this case, they don’t. that’s my ethical take on it. here’s the simple statement… and i draw on martin luther king, jr. again after celebrating his legacy last week:

violence only creates more violence. period. it never, ever solves the problem. as king says it:

“darkness does not drive out darkness, only light can do that. hate does not drive out hate, only love can do that.”

missiles, war, violence, and the need to show our strength & credibility to the world do not solve any problems, they are simply egotistical. in my opinion, those who are the greatest, are the peacemakers, the ones who are humble and merciful and even meek. the ones who live and work for others, not for themselves. the world does not see them as “great”, but screw the world. since when did the world have everything right? is money, power, greed, and a tough appearance the only way to get respect? i think not. the truly great ones, stand their ground and do not give up, but they do it non-violently:

like ghandi, nelson mandela, mlk, jr., mother theresa, julian of norwich, perpetua, and countless more “regular” women & men & children who are left out of the history books… even you & i. if we choose it.

we can be great. we can make a difference. and we can work for true justice. but, it cannot be through violent means. peace will never be achieved by flexing our muscles and threatening and hitting and punishing. peace will be achieved through peace.

and so, today, during my forty days of fika time, i am going to meet with others in downtown asheville to meditate for peace… specifically for the events in syria, for world leaders, and for our own courage to live non-violent lives.

wherever you are, will you join me at some moment today to stop & think about those suffering in syria, and how the world should respond to the horrible human suffering going on in that country and in many others around the world? will you consider that the greatest way that you can be a peacemaker is, perhaps, in your own life, the the people that you meet everyday? if we all did that, then what would the world be like?

peace and harmony… to you all.

there has to be something we can do.

[spotify id=”spotify:track:0VgDSbOTRMgvtUc1bYges8″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

i’m under my covers, sipping on coffee, safe in sweden, while chaos is unfolding across the atlantic in boston, massachusettes. i’ve got a local boston tv station streaming live and i’m checking twitter every few minutes and the news is unfolding in real time before my eyes & ears.

i tend to do this when big things happen. and it doesn’t have to only be in the states. i was glued to my computer when revolutions occurred in egypt and violence broke out in benghazi, syria, palestine, etc. the question is, do i get too stuck in these things?

24 hour news is an amazing and scary thing. twitter and reddit have changed how news is reported. but, i think i do know when i need to shut it all off and move on. still, i find that it is important, as a citizen of the world, to know what my brothers and sisters all over the world are facing and experiencing. i’m not into sensationalism and speculation, but rather, i feel that in order to be a better person where i am, in order to live a life of peace and spread that peace onward, it is good for me to be aware and updated on current events. and to not only know tidbits, but to try to get a better understanding of what is happening.

for now, my thoughts are with the people of boston. it must be scary and unsettling, knowing that there is so much violence popping up across the area. the current news is not only about what happened at the boston marathon on monday, but what is, at this moment, going on with chases, gunfires, and searches for suspects. people are being asked to stay inside their homes and lock their doors. really scary stuff.

but, i also can’t help but think about people who live in the midst of this kind of violence and fear every day of their lives. there are innocent people in many other countries all across the world who face random acts of violence daily.

all violence is horrible. enough is enough.

it seems too overwhelming, i know, to try to make a change or a difference. but, the only thing we can do, is choose how we will live our own lives, in our own towns, in our own countries. how do we rid this world of so much violence? i have no answers. i only know that we can choose what we prioritize in life…

are we going to be individualists, thinking of only what makes us the most powerful, successful, rich people we can personally be?

or are we going to live as a community, thinking about the greater good for everyone?

peace is not an easy path. in fact, it’s the harder road, which requires more self-discipline. but, i am determined to continue to believe that this world can be a place of peace. i will not give up hope.

john lennonhugs and comfort for all of you today. peace.


lay down your weapons.

non-violence is not for the weak. non-violence is for the strong. ~ gandhi


“Peace cannot be built on exclusivism, absolutism, and intolerance. But neither can it be built on vague liberal slogans and pious programs gestated in the smoke of confabulation. There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his “right mind.” p. 31” ― Thomas MertonOn Non-Violence

“I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.” ― Chief Joseph

“The non-violent resistor not only avoids external, physical violence, but he avoids internal violence of spirit. He not only refuses to shoot his opponent, but he refuses to hate him. And he stand with understanding, goodwill at all times.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.” ― Mother TeresaThe Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

in memory of the children & adults who lost their lives today in a school shooting in newtown, connecticut.


how do you use your words?

they shot her to silence her for good, said one of her classmates.

at the age of 11, she began to speak out. she wrote a blog. she was featured in a documentary with her father, a school principal. she lived in the middle of a war zone, and yet she dreamed first of being a doctor, and then of being a politician when she grew up. she was banned, along with all other girls, from going to school, and yet she didn’t give up on education. she didn’t give up on her country, pakistan, but instead, asked for help from the world. she wrote & spoke & fought for girls to continue to be educated. she was a child, and yet a leader.

and yesterday, at the age of 14, she was gunned down & shot because of her outspoken fight. at the age of 14, she was on a hit list because of her social activism & work for peace. she was deemed a threat because she stood up for the rights of all girls, everywhere; and because of her courage & leadership, she was shot in the head & in the neck. as of today, she is still hanging on to life, but she lies in a hospital bed in critical condition.

i don’t understand this. i don’t understand how someone can justify violence against a child. i don’t understand a country where girls & women are not given equal rights. i don’t understand how a 14 year old girl can be so brave, can do so much, can make such a difference. i don’t understand the bravery and the passion she has had. i don’t understand a life lived in constant fear. i don’t understand having to fight and risk my life in order to get an education. i don’t understand any of it.

but, i am touched. i am inspired. i am in awe. i am angry. and i am holding this young woman, this girl named malala, in my thoughts and my prayers.

i think about all the blogs out there, including mine, and i wonder… what are we doing? what am i doing? and i pray, that on some level, somehow, the random thoughts i have, the words that i type out onto my computer screen, make a little bit of a difference in someone’s world. i may not be writing to save girls’ education in pakistan, but i have my own story to tell. and you have yours. may we all, in the spirit of malala, write & share what burns in our hearts. may we, with words and courage, shine a light on the world through our words, our existence, our actions. may we, wherever we are, fight for our dreams, and use those dreams not to just make us happy, but to make a difference.

our words are powerful. our stories are inspiring. what we say motivates others, for good or for evil. but, no matter what we face, let us find the strength to stay true to what’s good, what promotes equality, acceptance, diversity, education, love, and of course, peace.

malala, you have touched my soul. may you feel god’s presence & peace near you during these days. you are a beacon of hope. we need you. so, fight hard.

and for all of you out there, may the peace & love of the universe follow you all the days of your life.

(read more here).

tragedy & beauty.

i could be angry. but i choose to channel that anger into passion. i could live in fear. but i choose to face my fears. i could feel overwhelmed and give up. but i choose to keep on going. i could just turn my head and live in my happy, little bubble. but i choose to be aware. i could focus on the evil, the violence, the pain. but i choose to focus on healing, reconciliation, and peace. i could pretend it didn’t happen. but i choose to acknowledge the pain and heal from it. i could stuff all my emotions down inside me. but i choose to find a way to talk about it. i could forget that it ever happened. but i choose to remember. i could hold a grudge and seek someone or some system to blame. but i choose to be a part of the solution, to educate, to move forward.

i could think that it won’t happen to me. but one never knows…

today marks the one year anniversary of the shootings at the youth camp and bombing in olso, norway where 77 people lost their lives. i remember the day last year, hearing the news of this act of terror, listening to the details unfold hour by hour. and then, the days that followed… hearing the stories of the victims, their stories of survival or the stories of their short lives as told by family members and friends.

it crazy to grow up in a time where i mark my life by acts of terror/tragedy (these are the ones that just popped into my head as i was writing).

  • 1986 the challenger space shuttle exploded
  • 1991 racial riots in my high school
  • 1995 oklahoma city bombing
  • 1999 columbine shootings
  • 2001 september 11 terrorist attacks in NYC
  • 2003 war in Iraq
  • 2011 norway massacre
  • 2012 aurora, colorado theater shootings

but, i guess i’m not the only one who can mark their life by tragedies, remembering where i was when this or that happened… my parents have this list, and then countless others to add: viet nam, civil rights protests/violence in the south, assassinations: martin luther king, jr. & president kennedy, the cold war, etc. and then, my grandparents: WWII, WWI, the great depression,etc.

of course, all i am mentioning here is from my tiny american perspective. i am greatly aware of (without knowing all the details & history, i admit) the fact that all of the countries/continents across the world have their own history, in addition to the history that we share. however, i can only speak from my experience, while acknowledging that everyone has their own experiences with tragedy and violence as well. many have much, much more first-hand experience of tragedy and violence than i.

i am painfully aware of the fact that there are horrible acts of terror and violence occurring daily in other parts of the world, of which i do not know the details. still, on a daily basis, details or not, i consciously try to think of all the people i will never meet who are suffering, who are frightened, who face bombs, guns, and abuse on a regular basis. i may not know them personally, but i know that they are my neighbors here in sweden, my neighbors in africa, my neighbors in the states, my neighbors in asia. they are my neighbors all around the world… and so many face the loss their lives or someone they love. yes, violence is everywhere. it touches everyone.

but, hang with me, friends.

the point of this blog post is first, for me to process my thoughts; and second, to remind myself & all of us what is most important. however in order to focus on what is most important, we have to be honest with ourselves. we have to open our eyes, we have to hear the cries, we have to see the pain and suffering, we have to listen to each other. we have to acknowledge what is happening in order to move forward. we have to open our minds and think. i agree, it’s not fun. it’s depressing. and it’s scary. but, i believe that we are in this together. we are not alone, and if we look honestly together at the state of our lives & our world, it  is perhaps not quite as overwhelming.

the thing is… we need each other.

i don’t have answers to solve the problems of war & violence. i don’t know how to stop acts of terror. but, i do know that how i live my life makes a difference. just think, though, if we all thought about how we lived our lives, faced our fears, worked together, sought, as a community, to heal each others’ pain, shared each others’ burdens, listened to each other, and lived life from a place of love instead of fear and exclusion, we could begin to make a big difference together. still, i am only responsible for myself, i know. but maybe part of my responsibility in my life is to talk with others, listen to others, be someone with whom others can process their thoughts and reflect on their own lives.

it’s the whole pebble in a lake theory. what one person does makes a little impact, but it spread out further and further.what if we were all making little impacts?

however, all the tragedies and violence in this world teach us something else too. it’s not just a reminder to try to make a better world, but to look at how beautiful & wonderful the world is already. yes. i said it. even in the midst of all the pain & suffering, there is beauty and joy. perhaps the most important thing that tragedies teach us is to live life! 

to soak up every moment. to greet each day and welcome all the possibilities it holds, to focus on moving forward, to reframe everything in the positive instead of the negative, to see problems as opportunities, to hear the music, to dance, to laugh until your stomach hurts, to enjoy good company & surround yourself with people who make you a better person, to close your eyes and breathe deeply, to face the sunshine, to believe in hope, to spread smiles and give hugs, to take risks and be adventurous, to dream big, to travel the world, to create art, to follow your bliss…

yes, i believe we must remember the victims, we must be aware of what’s happening in the world and in our own lives. we must be honest and face the dark times, because they are real. they are part of life. but, life is so beautiful as well. why not enjoy the beautiful moments when we have them? why not share that beauty with everyone we meet? why not work together to bring more & more beauty into the world?

thursday night, there was another act of violence & terror that occurred in aurora, colorado as people watched the midnight premiere of the newest batman movie. 12 people lost their lives and 59 people were wounded, many critically. *heavy sigh* yes, again. more violence. more death. more pain.

but, more opportunities to begin to talk again about how we can create a better world, without access to guns and bombs. and another opportunity for those of us left, to remember what is most important. to remember that the darkness exists, but the beauty of the world is brighter. as i always say, love wins.

i want to leave you with the words of one of the victims (jessica redfield) in the colorado shooting. no doubt many of you have heard of her on the news already… she survived a random shooting one month ago in canada, only to be killed in the shooting thursday night. chilling. but, her words are beautiful.

I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.

I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.

don’t we owe it to each other, to ourselves, to all victims of violence, to all who are suffering (even ourselves), to jessica… to make beautiful music with our lives, to live every second of every day as a gift?

breathe it all in, friends. love & hope. it’s all around you, even today.


street corner musings.

i find myself on sidewalks a lot these days. standing on street corners. waiting for buses. and since i’m waiting around a lot, i’ve got time to think. and people watch too, of course.

today i was waiting at a bus stop and flipping through the news apps on my phone, catching up on the latest info coming out of colorado… the horrible shootings that occurred last night when a masked man walked into a movie theater and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding others.

I stood there, on that street corner, and looked around. across the street, 3 men sat outside a pizzeria, laughing and carrying on with each other. people rode by on their bikes, no doubt getting off from work and ready for their friday night to begin. everyone just doing their own thing. living their life. and thousands of miles away in colorado, families are forever changed because of the act of violence one man decided to unleash in a public place.

a few days ago, the same violence was news in bulgaria, where a suicide bomber killed himself and others. and in so many other countries violence occurs daily. i stood there, thinking about all these people i don’t know all around me, and all of the people all across the world whose lives have changed in an instant.. unknowingly, life as they once knew it is gone. and now they are faced with the reality of learning how to adapt to a completely new way of living.

while i have not been a victim of violence lately, i have faced unexpected moments when life as i knew it ceased to exist. some of the changes i brought on myself, and some of them have happened to me. but, changes will happen. they are inevitable. changes are what life is all about. the question is, how am i gonna handle them? how am i gonna react?

as i stood on that street corner, i pondered all these things, and my heart ached to have everyone i love around me in that moment, so i knew that they were safe. but i stood there alone. watching life happen all around me. and then i smiled.

yeah. this is what it’s all about. learning to live with and appreciate each other. learning to never take one single moment for granted. soaking up everything good around us, and working to spread joy, not hate. i can’t change what’s happened in colorado, but i can make a difference wherever i go… i can decide how i will face and deal with life, how i will treat others, and whether i will live a life of love, non-violence, & peace. or not.

i looked around one more time. my bus was coming. time to meet up with my love.

be safe. peace, my dear friends.

twisted celebrations.

is there something wrong with me? or is it because of my world view and my experiences in life?

i am confused, once again, at the joy that people feel when another person is killed. ok. i’m not just confused. i am angered by it. disappointed in humanity. afraid that we will never grow out of our selfish, violent ways.

i realize that i have never lived in the middle of violence, or under the oppressive reign of a dictator. i have no idea what it feels like to live without rights. well, i take that back. yes i do. my wife and i cannot live in the US because we are women who we are married to each other. we are second class citizens, sinners and not worthy of the all the rights that americans have. i have felt the oppressive-ness of the US government, but i have been blessed to have not felt violence as a result of it (though i know that it exists).


when i watched the news this morning, reporting on the killing of gaddafi in libya, i was disturbed at something that i am usually disturbed by… people celebrating the death of another. don’t get me wrong. gaddafi was a terrible, terrible man and libya should never have had to live under his rule any longer. i’m not here to say how he should have been taken out of power, or what the solution is when there are people who are living with tyranny and violence. i have no idea how to deal with these complicated situations. i’m also not here to judge the celebrations of those people who have been victims of gaddafi’s reign, for i have not experienced the lives that they have led.

what i am talking about is this twisted sense of justice that so many have, especially those of us who are on-loookers, who haven’t lived in the situation, but watched it on tv. this sense of “2 wrongs make a right”, “you did this to me, so i’m gonna do it back to you”, “he/she was a bad person, so he/she deserves to die.”, “yes! God is great! the horrible man is gone!” “woo hoo! the bastard is dead!”

what is the deal with this? why do people seriously think that it is ok to celebrate and wish the death of another? how can people demand justice in a violent way? isn’t that just stooping to the level of the “bad person”? yes. there are people who do evil and horrible things, but how can celebrating the end of their life (or the life of anyone, for that matter) make right the terror and pain they have caused?

again, i may have no idea what i am talking about. but, something in my soul feels that it is so wrong to celebrate the death of another. for all of those who believe in jesus, when did he ever choose to be excited at another’s demise? when did he ever say that we should payback when we are wronged? in fact he said the complete opposite. when did he ever fight back? i do not know everything about all other faiths, but i do know that at the heart of all of them is love – love of self and love of others. God, the God of everyone, of every faith, is love. and i truly believe that there is not one time that God celebrates when any human being loses their life… whether it is a 96 year old who lived a long life, a 45 year old murderer on death row, a 26 year old addict, a 50 year old nun, a 6 year old child, a 36 year old parent, a 70 year old dictator and terrorist… the God of love yearns for humans to live in harmony and peace with one another, and to enjoy life.

so, what do we do with all of the injustice and violence in our world? what do we do when one source of injustice and violence no longer exists? i don’t have the answer. i do know that i feel a sense of relief that a dictator such as gaddafi is no longer imposing his violence on libyan citizens. but, my heart aches that this man felt so much hate, sought so much power, and believed that torture and violence was the path to his happiness. what a horrible was to live, and to die.

no. there are no celebrations coming from me this morning. there is only sadness and grief that this kind of violence and terror still exist in the world. there are only questions and wonderings as to how we move past the desire for greed, power, status, and selfshness that lead to such horrible situations. the death of gaddafi reminds me that we have a long way to go. we have much to do to ensure justice, equality, and peace for all. and there is much that we need to continue to learn about each other, so that we can live with respect, acceptance, and diversity. we still need to learn how to open our hearts and minds, and seek the difficult way of peace, instead of the easy way of violence.

pic from huffingtonpost.com

peace. deep, true peace i wish for you all.