When all we see is hatred, all we do is based on the hatred we perceive to be real, necessary, unavoidable.
When we see kindness, caring, compassion, empathy, we do things that enhance the things we see.
Working in a family emergency shelter, it is easy to see the stress and turmoil, fear and anxiety of homelessness and the crises it brings into people’s lives and how they respond to those crises.
It is also easy to see the caring, kindness, compassion that people show to one another every day. As long as I seek to see the beauty.
Yesterday, while washing out my coffee cup in the dining area, I overheard three mothers gathered around a table chatting about their struggles to find housing.
“My kids are sitting with me and they are asking all these personal questions,” one woman said.
Another woman chimed in. “Yeah. It’s like your entire life gets laid out and they get to judge it while your kids listen in. It’s just not right.”
The third woman sat quietly listening and said, “Why don’t we arrange to take each other’s kids when we go to these interviews?”
And the conversation took a different tact as they began to talk about the things they could do to create better in their lives.
It would have been so easy for these women to get mired in the limitations of their situation, complaining about ‘the system’, seeing only the negatives. Instead, they focused on solutions and how they could help one another.
In their willingness to move beyond the limitations, their world became a reflection of friendship, community, possibility.
It’s easy in every day living to see the darkness, the limitations, the impossibilities of anything changing for the better.
It’s easy to feel trapped by current circumstances and our present world view into believing, there’s no way out of this mess.
Sometimes, when it looks like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel it’s because we’re not looking ahead, we’re only peering into the darkness and reflecting it back upon ourselves.
To see the light, we must open our eyes to the possibility of its presence, and never give into the darkness.
And the best way to do that is to do as those three women did. Seek possibilities. Find solutions. Build community.