Love one another

February 2, 2016

This song plays constantly while I’m in my car, giving me plenty of time to think about the concept of loving one another. Not to mention how loving our brother is reflected in the behavior of both people in the public eye and people I know. Or not reflected.

I have to admit that even as I charge ahead into my senior years, I’m still a little naive about people and their behavior and still taken aback when they say mean or ugly things or behave badly.

I can’t think of a time when I, myself, have ever acted maliciously. Does that sound arrogant? I don’t mean it that way. Sure, I’ve been thoughtless. But malicious? No. But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t had malicious behavior directed toward me, sometimes even by members of my own family. Malicious: intending to do harm.  You’ve probably seen some of this behavior in people around you, too. I hope you haven’t, but chances are, you have.

You’d think by now I’d have seen so much of it that it wouldn’t faze me, that I would have developed some effective armor, but, as my good friend P said not too long ago, “that Youngbloods song runs through your veins.”  I’m glad it does, even though sometimes I feel a bit unprotected.

Some may come and some may go

As the song played today I thought about a friend from back in the day…way back in the day, someone I knew very well. They acted badly toward someone that was in my life and by extension, toward me. It was childish, really, and they see that now and are terribly embarrassed. So embarrassed that they feel it has irreparably damaged our friendship. But here’s the thing: I don’t feel that way at all. Long ago, I forgave them and moved on. I understood the insecurities that drove this silly behavior but at the time it was quite shocking.

As the years passed I had reason to see them fairly often. When I did, I never thought about that incident at all. But they’ve “confessed” their bad behavior to someone else and said they feared it ended the friendship.

You’re probably asking, “if you believe in loving one another, why don’t you reach out?” Well, a couple of reasons.  This person is really not someone who likes to talk issues through and so I think it would be more effective if they made the gesture. If I made it, well, it wouldn’t really mean as much or do anything. Not really.

And then, the truth is that I’ve done my share of reaching out to people who behave badly and I’m not going to do much more of it. All that reaching out taught me one thing: if people can’t be kind to one another, seek common ground and understanding, what can I do to change that? Nothing.

If you hear the song I sing, you will understand

If I had my druthers, the world would be a kinder, gentler place. People would be kinder, gentler to one another. Civilized.

But look around. It’s campaign season and this election time we’re hearing politicians make some of the ugliest statements ever. It’s uncivilized. When that awful name-calling gets broadcast over and over on mass media, it can’t help but lower our society’s standards for decent behavior. I can’t even listen to the news these days.

And then, the people on social media who hop on the name-calling bandwagon? They turn my stomach. A few people I know on social media have unfriended anyone who is a follower of some of these vile politicians because they just don’t want to see that ugliness in their social media feeds.

Just one key unlocks the door

Younger generations sometimes like to make fun of the Boomer generation and I really can’t blame them for having a jaundiced eye. It’s not like we made major changes with the Love/Peace/Understanding mantra that was our hallmark. Ok, we passed civil rights legislation –but we failed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. While some behaviors changed, we still see the “isms” and worse in our society. The society that we are raising.  And as we moved further into our careers we made life decisions that were based on material values, not Love/Peace/Understanding. That mantra “faded in the grass.”

And so here we sit, living the last quarter of our lives, dealing with the results of our inability to create a civilized society, watching it degenerate into malice and insults and intolerance.

Was it all for nothing?

When I’m feeling hopeless about this, I close my eyes, and go here:

34 comments on “Love one another
  1. Perfect timing after the Iowa caucus because I am fearful of the direction our country is going. I loved that song too and believe in it. We all should. It provides hope that our world can repair itself and that our country, well, let’s replay it for them again. Right now. Right now!

  2. Kate says:

    If only a little of the innocent belief we had for positive change had materialized! It’s sad to see even greater polarization and intolerance today.

  3. Just one key unlocks the door – powerful message.

  4. Mary says:

    Oh, how I love this song! Thank you for posting it, Carol. Maybe if people lived by the saying “If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say it!” rule, it would be a nicer world.

  5. Laurie Stone says:

    Really love this song. I admire how you parsed out each line, they’re so beautiful. The older I get, the more I understand its wisdom. Thank you.

  6. Shari Eberts says:

    I love that song! Thanks for the wonderful post and the perfect excuse to have that song playing on my computer all day today!

  7. Hi Carol! I too love that song and it does help to remind me if I ever feel the need to think less than kind thoughts about anyone. But I also know that even after we forgive past transgressions (and yes we do that as much for ourselves as anyone else) we would be wise (not to mention SMART) to remember that others do not necessarily have our best interests in mind and we should never assume that they will treat us as we hope to be treated. What’s the parable about the scorpion? Long story short, even when we do something loving and ultimately kind for a scorpion it will likely still sting us given another chance. So my goal is to be as loving, kind and forgiving as I can be but never automatically expect the same from others–they just might be a scorpion. I’ll let you know how it goes 😉 ~Kathy

  8. Donna says:

    I love the song as everyone else, but just yesterday I was refreshed a bit on optimism. When I mentioned I was afraid of the the direction our country was traveling Guru stopped me gently and asked me to restate without the negatives and definitely never mention fear. It was a grand reminder. Just like this song. Cmon people now….

  9. andrea says:

    it’s not only a great song – but it’s also in the Bible – Jesus commands us that we should love one another, as He first loved us

  10. Kimberly says:

    This post mostly makes me think of what great music we had to grow up to! It brings back so many fun memories — thank you for that!
    Kimberly XO

  11. Elizabeth O. says:

    What a beautiful message. Music always helps people. I also have songs that keep me leveled and calm.

  12. Tara says:

    I love that song. This is a very timely message. As long as people recognize we still have work to do on our society, there is always hope. God’s not done with us yet!

  13. Jonathan Key says:

    This is such a great song! God is good and is acting in this world. He will not falter. His promises are true! Thanks for the great reminder.

  14. MyTeenGuide says:

    I also love this song like everyone else. God is good all the time. All He asks is for us to love one another.

  15. I love that song and it’s great reminder too!! God is good all the time.

  16. Michelle T says:

    Your right, it’s so important to forgive other people when they upset us. Your right we can’t do anything about how bad this world is with all of bullying that has gone on. But your doing the first step by posting this blog and opening other people’s eyes. Who knows may be you could have encouraged someone to forgive someone else today just by reading your blog. Great post, great song too.

  17. Christa says:

    This was so what I needed today! I shared it on my Facebook page, if you don’t mind?

  18. Our political process has been ugly from day one. Oh how I wish they stuck to themselves and their policies. I don’t think it’s any worse than its ever been it’s jus amplified because of social media.
    I love this song and like you I’ve never, ever intentionally hurt anyone. I have learned, finally that if they aren’t nice and for me I move on. No more trying to make people like me. It takes my time and love away from those that already do.

  19. Diane says:

    This is my all time favourite song!
    I know I’ve said this before, but my Mom’s mantra was “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” She believed in kindness. And she was. To her very soul. I don’t think I ever heard her say anything bad about anyone in her whole 78 years! That has been my example. Part of me shrivels up inside when people are angry or rude or unkind.
    Yeah. I pretty much have to ignore any of the politics being blastcast (a step down from broadcast) these days.

  20. This is a great message, Carol. I’m also thankful for second chances when I screw up as I inevitably do. And then I have to remember to extend that same opportunity to others who screw up against me. I guess it is the Golden Rule all over again isn’t it?

  21. Joan Stommen says:

    Well said, Carol. We were raised right back in the day. The golden rule wasn’t just a Sunday school thing. I find it unpleasant to read the haters jumping on the smallest detail to turn it ugly…if only the poster would delete those comments like Connie Schuktz often does. I like to think there are more of us than them…I raised my kids the same, but they sometimes utter things…prompting me to say “that’s not nice”….sounding ancient. Tough shit…nice is as nice does! LOL

  22. So nice. It is a shame that there isn’t a sense of Community anymore. I am a realist but I do try to see the good parts of everyone.

  23. Hi Carol,
    I agree with you. People are rude. Malicious, etc. I agree the world used to be a kinder, gentler place. By the way, I like that song.

  24. michelle says:

    I love this. I have behaved maliciously in my life before. Not often, just a few times and I have always regretted my behavior and tried to make amends. Nothing horrible, but you know…bad enough. I like me more when I’m nice. Or at least trying to be nice.

  25. I had a big fat LOL when I read: “the truth is that I’ve done my share of reaching out to people who behave badly and I’m not going to do much more of it. All that reaching out taught me one thing: if people can’t be kind to one another, seek common ground and understanding, what can I do to change that?”

    Carol: I am also a very nice person and I also tire of reaching out to others who don’t seem to care who they hurt. I’m not Jesus Christ, I’m just a woman who feels we should treat each other as well as we can.

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