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As I read obituaries of Patty Duke, I can’t help but be grateful for her work to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. Her willingness to share her story of living with bipolar disorder made it easier for millions of other people to face their own darkness, and thus lightened the burden for their family members. This affects me personally and sometimes breaks my heart but for the power of stories like hers. As hard as it is now, where would we be without her courage?
Be the change, said Mahatma Ghandi. Be the light in the night for those who are afraid. Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world.” He instructed us to live the Beatitudes not for our own sake but for others, to bring mercy and justice into an empty and cold world. I’m grateful to everyone who nurtures hope and lights candles in the face of despair.
Yesterday I celebrated the gift of free will, but let’s back up a little. Before God created us, He created our beautiful, amazing world. We’re still unlocking all its wondrous secrets, still discovering new details about how various creatures interact with their environment, still trying to understand the mystery of mosquitos. Seriously. What do we need those for?
This morning as I rode to work under a beautiful blue sky, I decided my topic for the day would be the sun, or maybe creation. This thought persisted even as the high pollen count seeped into me as if I’d just gone swimming in a pool of flowers. Nature isn’t always kind and the weather isn’t always convenient, but the very existence of our world is an act of love by God. As Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si, “Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.”
And so of course, we must sing! This lovely a cappella version of The Canticle of the Sun by Marty Haugen sums it up.
I saw a Facebook challenge today that I want to make happen: to spend the fifty days of the Easter Season celebrating God through positive witness on social media. On Day One, I’m going right to Genesis.
I’m grateful for the gift of free will, even though it led to an unfortunate choice by Adam and Eve. Yes, there’s suffering in the world because they exercised their free will and disobeyed God’s specific instructions. But, no serpent, no apple, no Incarnation, no Crucifixation, no Resurrection.
No matter what we do, God weaves salvation into our story. The catch is that we have to choose listen to Him instead of the snakes of anxiety, jealousy, pride and greed. The gift of free will is how God shows us what Love truly is: willing the good of the other for their own sake. How amazing is that?
Here’s one of my favorite songs to sing the point home – Matt Maher’s Love Has Come
(cross-posted by accident at dancingbackwardsinheels.wordpress.com)