I recall a time when my friend and I were bored in class. We decided to draw the world on a single sheet of paper. We outlined the continents and labeled the oceans. Then we drew objects on our world that represented global issues: trash in the seas, forests that have been obliterated, shackles in Africa, hurricanes in the islands, shacks in South America, nuclear clouds over North Korea, displaced refugees fleeing Syria, a woman looking up at a man and children screaming. When we finished our world, we nearly started crying.
It is painful to see our world from the light of fear. This is our reality, but if I were to redraw the world with an eye of love it would look much different: people rebuilding cities, Europe and the US welcoming refugees, economies thriving in several African countries, science and medicine eliminating deaths, the younger generation caring for the elderly, freedom as a right rather than a privilege, women leading nations, children being adopted into loving families, trees being planted in the Amazon, communities cleaning trash from the oceans, a revival of once endangered species…
My mom always says that our perspective is our reality, and I choose to see the world through the lens of possibility and hope. After the November 30th earthquake, I saw our community come together in an incredible way: we cleaned schools and homes, we fundraised for families in need, we invited Gruening Middle School to be a part of our Chugiak High School family, and we opened the doors of our churches to those displaced.
All of this has taught me to have faith in the power of love, the power of community, and the power of unity. We can choose what we want our world to look like, so let us put love into action and follow the words of Martin Luther King Jr, “We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way.” (“Love Your Enemies” Sermon, 1957).