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Thursday, March 18, 2010

What if - five years on.

I wrote this five years ago in a world before cancer, before hospitals and operations and scans became a part of my life. Perhaps the difference I can now make is in how I live my life through this experience, in the help I can be to others making the same journey through pain and fear.

What if I took this nightmare experience and turned what I have learned into a resource for those who have entered the same nightmare?

What if instead of crying, I laughed and took this moment as a wonderful gift to be lived fully and what if those around me took comfort from this?

What if I used my pain to bring comfort and healing to others?

Now there's a thought to sleep on.

From here is what I wrote 5 years ago. I still think it worth the writing and is just as valid today.

What if ......……

This is a question which has been playing over and over in my mind for quite some time. I try to make sense of a world where there is so much pain and so many acts of horrific cruelty, and I ask myself what role love has to play in this? What difference can one woman or one man make in the devastation that surrounds us, and I find myself constantly drawn back to the idea of how life might be if we lived each day with loving intent.

As I drove back from my son‘s school this morning, all I could think about was the power that love has to heal , to transform, to create miracles. So how would it be if we made simple acts of love, our everyday practice? What if?

How would it be if we each dropped a tiny pebble of love into the ocean of life every day? What might be healed and transformed? What miracles might occur? Where and to whom would all these little ripples spread; whose lives would they wash over; what pain and misery and sorrow would they cleanse? What if all those tiny ripples of love, somehow connected and amplified? What if their collective energy was transformed into a mighty wave, rising higher than the earth, creating a cosmic tsunami, which swept away the sins of the world, and left it whole again. What if?

What if this morning on my school run, I had snarled instead of smiled? What if I had bellowed out protests against careless driving with my angry fist on the horn, instead of forgiving and allowing a story of understanding to fill my head? What if I had told myself that those drivers were “out to get me”, a symbol of the sickness of our society? Instead made a choice; I chose to extend compassion to them; I chose to sympathise with the pressure that they felt, pushing them to make mistakes, to take chances, to risk theprecious gift of life; I told myself another story in whichI pitied them and where there is pity, there is love and the capacity for anger and resentment vanishes. I sent them prayer instead of a curse.

What if, there had been one driver on the road this morning, filled with silent rage and despair, kicked around by life, until battered and broken, they had reached a place of darkness. Perhaps they were ready to die and perhaps they were ready to take the lives of others. Could one smiling face make a difference? Could the space I created for them to allow them onto the main road, when all the others drove past, make a tiny crack in the wall they had built around themselves? Could one simple loving act from a stranger shift their intent? What if all they were looking for was a sign, a sign that there is love and it practices what it preaches. What if?

Then there was the man who drove so aggressively, overtaking a long queue of backed up traffic, who then tried to push back into the line of patient waiting drivers hundreds of yards up the road. What if I had refused to let him in? What if I had looked at him with the anger and contempt I saw in other drivers’ eyes as they moved closer together to keep him out? What if he had been a father on his way to his dying child, frightened and alone in hospital? What if he had been going to lose his job if he was late one more time? What if?

What if we chose to take a moment to smile at the hostile, yawning girl at the supermarket check out, to sympathise about the long day she has had, to make her laugh with a small humorous comment? What if you were the only person who would speak to her that day who actually seemed to care. What if she is a single mum, who made the choice to keep her child, and for whom life is now a constant mind deadening struggle? What if that touch of love meant that her little one was hugged and held close that night instead of frightened by a worn out snarl or worse? What if?

What if you told the customer service agent, what a great job he is doing, what a pleasure it is to speak to someone who clearly knows their business and cares about his customers? What if you told him that you understand that the problem is not his fault and that you appreciate whatever he can do to help you? What if you spoke to his supervisor and complimented her on what excellent training she had obviously given this young man? What if these were the only positive words these two people had heard all week? What if they had been listening to abuse all day because they had been powerless to help? What if?

What if, we decided to look into the hearts of people instead of trying to read their minds? What if we gave them the benefit of the doubt? What if we stopped painting them as awkward or difficult or bad or even evil? What if we actually tried to understand why they act in the way they do? What if we sat down and listened to them? What if we treated them as we long to be treated? What if?

I could have written about war , about what happens when we forget to love, when we no longer see one another as individuals, but as monstrous projections of fear. I was tempted to write about the roots of terrorism and the dark pit of anger and despair it springs from; how all such acts create a hideously fertile breeding ground for yet more darkness to pour into the world. Instead, today I lightly touched on the positive difference one small, conscious act of kindness might make in your world.

What if you chose to be more loving today?

What if you walk out your door and commit an act of random kindness?

What if you were just a little more understanding, a little more compassionate, a tiny bit more patient?
What if you made a choice to live in the light of love, always looking for ways of demonstrating that love?

What if each small act of love dropped into the ocean of life, created that immense tidal wave?

What difference might that make to our troubled world?

What if we truly loved and all our actions came from that love?

What if?

What if.........
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