When I am hardest pressed, one truth becomes resoundingly self-evident. In the darkest times, the unlikely solution seems to be to add more love.
The first time this occurred to me was when dealing with the grinding wickedness of a five year old son. That afternoon nothing worked with my generally pleasant, charming boy. Not reasoning. Not distraction. Not the array of interesting games and puzzles I offered. Not reading aloud. “No” was everywhere. Three times we had changes of clothes because of mud and soakers. The moment I turned my back to make supper (no wonder they call five o’clock “the arsenic hour”) a violent “smash” brought me racing to the dining room, where a tablecloth was crumpled on the floor, amidst a pile of broken china.
The last shreds of my patience turned to desperation. I was at my wits’ end. “What am I going to do with you?” I exploded, not expecting an answer. All the same, in spite of my righteous fury, I had a flashing insight of wretchedness lurking below a little boy’s surface. Although I was stiff with resentful anger, something made me kneel down and gave him a hug. With that simple gesture of undeserved love, peace was restored. No need for words. After all, we both knew he was sorry.
Since then, whenever I’ve remembered, whenever I’ve been able to be big enough, I’ve used the energy of extra love to calm a troubled situation. And, without fail, it works. Ironically for someone who lives by words, I’ve come to know that there are many situations where words do not help, while actions do.
Watching the dwindling wonderful migrants passing, knowing full well that in my short remaining years many species will vanish, I cannot help wondering what the power of love might do to heal the ravages we face. I cannot help wondering what might happen if we all acted as if life mattered enough to act on its behalf with the generosity of love.