Only Love

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
 
“Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities that surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of [hu]mankind, we must follow another way. This does not mean we abandon our righteous efforts. With every ounce of energy we must continue to rid this nation of the incubus of segregation. But we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love. While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community”

~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love
 
How do I respond to the hatred and violence that continues to manifest in our society? What do I do to combat the cruel treatment of immigrants that persists on our southern border and in communities around the country? How do I reply to the seeds of brutality and intolerance recklessly watered by the words and actions of others, including by the President of these United States?
 
First I need to acknowledge the grief and trauma experienced by so many who have found themselves facing this violence head on. My love goes out to the families torn apart by deportations, incarceration, gun violence, and hate crimes. At the same time I need to work to transform the violence and suffering within myself and dig deep to find empathy for the oppressors and aggressors, recognizing their humanity while calling out their wicked actions as inhumane and unacceptable.

 

For sanity, support, and guidance, I need to reach out and stay connected to the beloved community that Dr. King preached about and dedicated his life to build. When I am caught by the illusion that I am just a small individual self, I am paralyzed into believing that I am helpless and that my actions are ineffective. But when I remember that I am part of the continuation of peace and healing that flow from so many great spiritual ancestors including Dr. King, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, and countless Grandmothers and Grandfathers, and that I am deeply connected to the Great Mystery of life, I have the energy to move forward and continue building this legacy of love.
 
Music helps open the door of my heart to connect with others and do this work of building beloved community. I am so grateful to have been given the gift of music by my parents and ancestors. I pray that I may use it in service of the transformative love that is so necessary for our collective survival. I continue to offer my humble contribution to peace and healing, to sing and to love, and I invite you to join with me in this beloved community of song. I pray that your gifts of service may be nourished and strengthened and that together our love can overcome hatred and ignorance.
 
Just this, only love,
Joe

P.S. If you are looking for ways to help those immigrant families who were recently targeted by ICE in Mississippi, I am making a donation to the Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance. Please join me in supporting this or the many other organizations working for social justice for immigrants.

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