Standing One’s Ground

A most amazing video went viral this week following the terrorists’ attacks in Paris. At a memorial site, a father named Angel Le and his little son Brandon were interviewed by a reporter from “Le Petit Journal.”
Reporter (R) to Brandon: Do you understand what happened? Do you understand why those people did that?
Brandon (B): Yes, because they’re really, really mean. Bad guys are not very nice. And we have to be really careful because we have to change houses.
Angel (A): Oh no, don’t worry…We don’t need to change houses. France is our home.
B: But they are bad guys, Papa.
A: Yes, but there are bad guys everywhere.
B: They have guns. They can shoot us because they’re really, really mean, Papa.
A: It’s ok, they might have guns, but we have flowers.
B: But flowers don’t do anything. They’re for…they’re for…
A: Of course they do, look, everyone is putting flowers. It’s to fight against the guns.
B: It’s to protect?
A: Exactly.
B: And the candles too?
A: It’s to remember the people who are gone yesterday.
B: The flowers and candles are here to protect us?
A: Yes.
R: Do you feel better now?
B: Yes, I feel better.

I, too, stand with those who have flowers and candles. Angel has the love and compassion to comfort his son, who was so frightened by the mean, bad guys and the guns. I stand with those who would spread love and compassion, not fear. I take a lesson from those flowers. My spiritual teacher said, “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?…So do not worry…” (Matt. 6:28b-31a) I make a choice where I stand and I choose not to worry and to trust that my life is taken care of forever by the Eternal. This is not to deny the reality of the evil that people do or the possibility of bad things happening. Instead, it is choosing to acknowledge a deeper, more profound reality – that love and compassion win in the end. Love cannot be destroyed by hatred. Love is greater. The Ground of Being is love. And this is the beautiful truth.

Parker Palmer wrote this in 1999, which seems so wise today:
“We have places of fear inside of us, but we have other places as well—places with names like trust and hope and faith. We can choose to lead from one of those places, to stand on ground that is not riddled with the fault lines of fear, to move toward others from a place of promise instead of anxiety. As we stand in one of those places, fear may remain close at hand and our spirits may still tremble. But now we stand on ground that will support us, ground from which we can lead others toward a more trustworthy, more hopeful, more faithful way of being in the world.”

May you stand with those who have flowers and candles.
May you stand and spread love and compassion in the face of fear.
May you stand on the ground of trust and hope and faith, knowing that the Ground of Being is Love.