Keeping a Sensitive Heart in a Cruel World

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Two events in particular have really been laying heavily on my mind lately:

Steve Utash in his hospital bed.

April 15, the one year anniversary of the Boston bombing.

Over the weekend, I watched Brian Williams and his report on the first 108 hours and had an instant flashback to last year. The bombing at the Boston Marathon is on the same level as September 11 for me; I remember exactly where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing when I first heard about it. I was busy prepping for finals wrapping up my junior year of college. I had just gotten out of class when a friend said to me, “Did you hear Boston is on complete lockdown?” We googled the news report and stared at each other in disbelief for a moment, especially thinking of the innocent officer shot in his car at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as we sat in our college’s cafe. Watching the report on Friday, I ached for the victims and their families just as much this year as I did 363 days ago.

In an event that happened right in our backyard, Steve Utash was nearly beaten to death after attempting to do the right thing. He hit a young boy who ran out into the street suddenly; when he got out of his pick up truck to check on the boy and see if he was okay, he was beaten senselessly by a mob of men. Miraculously, he has come out of his coma and is able to answer yes or no questions, but he still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. The story reminded me so much of what my own Dad would have done if he had been in the same situation, and my heart hurt not only for him, but also for his children.

It’s senseless.

It’s angering.

It’s disheartening.

Sometimes, it’s hard to have a sensitive heart.

In a world that likes to crush any spark of kindness and even just plain human decency, it’s tempting to join in. Fight fire with fire. Soothe our hurt souls with violence and anger. Throw our own sense of compassion and decency away. It’s hard to get hurt ourselves if we surround our vulnerable hearts with barbed wire and lock away every ounce of our compassion.

But then, in the midst of all the pain and hatred, some brave soul encourages us to keep trying.

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Someone reminds us that evil doesn’t get the last word.

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Someone does the right thing, even when it costs dearly.

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In a world of overwhelming strife and darkness, the strongest weapon we have is love.

Mother Theresa sums it up best:

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered:

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives:

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies:

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people will try to cheat you:

Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight:

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous of you:

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten by tomorrow:

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.

Give your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.”

~Mother Theresa

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