“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” Gandhi
I have shared suffering with others and others have shared great unimaginable suffering with me for which there was no solution only listening and healing. I have met people kind enough to listen to me in times of my pain and I have let people cry on my shoulder as I struggled to understand their pain. I have been personally attacked for my beliefs, for the way I thought about things that people didn’t understand or like.
I laid flowers outside the Irish parliament where a homeless man died in the cold wind and rain because I wanted our government to know it was wrong for a man to die of starvation on the streets of Dublin, or anywhere in the world. I worked on a helpline for people with depression for two years because the suicide rate in Ireland was climbing exponentially due to poverty and unemployment. One night I listened to a very distressed man working in a funeral parlour. He had to prepare burial`s for nine young adults who committed suicide in the same town and he knew these people. He wanted to find a way to help the mourning relatives deal with their grief.
Words can be empty. The outcry for the homeless man died down and homelessness increased. People talk of peace, they twitter and blog about how terrible terrorist events are yet most people do nothing about it. Jesus spoke of peace but he also demonstrated it. He kicked over the table of the merchants in the synagogue. He healed people. He listened to those who were suffering. Peace must be active, it`s more than speaking words as a reaction to terror and war. It is about doing, helping, caring, and listening.
Violence is wrong, I know its many faces but it always speaks the same language. No matter what country people are from the forms of violence are the same: judgement, anger, physical and psychological damage, grief. The only results of violence are pain and destruction. There are peaceful ways to deal with violence. One method is preventing violence from happening, for example educating those who are so full of anger or manipulated that they feel the need to commit violence against others. Policing areas effectively where people might commit violence, sitting down with each other to stop violence and work out agreements to live peacefully with each other. Gandhi once said peace is a much more difficult path than violence. It takes time and great effort to convince people to stop fighting and to sit and talk. The peaceful way, he said, tends to benefit huge amounts of people and has a long-term lasting effect usually permanent. Countries and people begin to thrive, as they fear each other less and less. Gandhi liberated billions of people in India from colonisation so he was not talking theory this is what he observed happening. He performed acts of peace. He arranged demonstrations; he talked and listened to the people responsible for colonisation. It is said large numbers of people queued outside his house and he listened tirelessly to their troubles as his people followed him in their objective for freedom.
What can you DO to make the world a better place. Who needs your shoulder to cry on or needs you to listen to their pain? Who do you know needs help? What can you do for them?. Then speak words of peace to the world, when we physically help others to bring about peace person by person.
I`d love you to post some of your comments on how to help others or how to offer a listening ear.
Readers of this blog might decide to do the same.