Description:When Ashton forgets about Valentine’s Date he has with Y/N, thoughts and emotions immediately start running through her mind.
The clinging sound of your heels filled the kitchen as you prepared the last things for the night. Candles, home-made meal, flowers, everything was perfect. You always hated Valentine’s because you never had anyone to celebrate it with. Your last couple of relationships would always end right before the 14th, so it was not even weird that you were looking that much forward to the night. It all seemed like a movie. You had bought new lingerie, made him food like you were some kind of mum - even though you had to call Calum to get him to help you. Nothing could go wrong.
The truth is, we are all caught in a battle of good and evil. In our day to day, often distracted and routine lives, we sometimes forget this. We become content with things of this world- entertainment, gossip, material possessions, popularity, fame. Things that will eventually become dust. What will remain when our material comforts disintegrate?
When we are faced with an act of senseless violence, it is shocking, brutal, disturbing, devastating. It frightens us because it reminds us of the fragility of our humanity- that we are vulnerable, and our time here is limited. It hurts because it reminds us that there is evil and violence in our world. That people hurt others for reasons we can’t comprehend. It’s not fair, and it’s not just.
But has our world ever been fair or just?
What do we do when faced with something so horrifying as senseless violence? A good place to start is to ask ourselves- what are we living for? Who are we behind closed doors? What kind of impact is my life making on others? Am I helping or hurting- or simply sitting complacently?
There is so much more to this world than winning a popularity contest, or racing to fill ourselves up and experience the most pleasure possible. There is a whole realm of good and evil right before our eyes. When evil screams out at us, we are asked to respond with the purest of good. People use the word “love” as an antidote, but what does it mean anyway? Many of us think of the “love” we see in movies- having a crush, getting butterflies, the physical chemistry between two people. But when faced with an act so insidious as senseless violence, love as having a “crush” seems almost insulting to our humanity.
There is a love deeper than anything that could be captured in a movie or song that permeates our entire world. This love is pure and true. This is the love we thirst for. Mother Teresa talks about this love in one of my all-time favorite quotes:
“At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by: I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.
Hungry not only for bread-
but hungry for love.
Naked not only for clothing-
but naked of human dignity and respect.
Homeless not only for want of a home of brick-but homeless because of rejection.
Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.”
Another beautiful quote from Mother Teresa:
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
We are called to love deeply- not just our family and friends, but the poorest of the poor. This doesn’t just encompass those who are materially poor, but those who are lonely, rejected, and isolated- those who suffer from spiritual poverty.
At a time like this, when we feel horrified, violated and disturbed by the ugliness of evil, we yearn even more for the things that remain pure and sacred- picking up a child who is homeless and cradling her in your arms. A piece of music that makes you soar with emotion. Crying with and comforting a friend, and watching them heal. A married couple on the verge of divorce who miraculously finds the courage to forgive each other. The first breath of a newborn baby. Wildflowers blooming gloriously every spring after the bitterness of winter’s cold. A candle casting light in the darkness of a peaceful, old church. People praying solemnly, hands pressed over their faces. A genuine smile. The beauty of vulnerability.
Why do things like these bring so much comfort at a time like this? Why is it that music with degrading, defiling lyrics, maybe even songs we laugh along to in our daily lives, seems so insulting at a time like this? Why do so many people who never talk about God write on their social media platforms, “Please pray,” when something like this happens?
When faced with violence and evil, we remember that we are yearning for more. We are thirsting for something deeper than the shallowness of our world. Pleasure, lust and entertainment do not quench the desperate thirst we all experience. We want real love, a meaningful existence, to experience and taste something pure and sweet. In the book “Man’s Search For Meaning,” Viktor Frankl writes that humans can endure unimaginable suffering if they can find some meaning behind it.
Humans are capable of unthinkable, hideous evil. We are also capable of breathtaking courage and life-changing Love. We are called to more than this earthly life. The one question I ask, above all: if you were one of the victims of the bombing in Manchester, what legacy would your life leave behind? How did the love of God- the love that is pure, whole and holy, the love that forgives, nurtures, heals and the only love that quenches- how did that love shine through in your life?
And if you don’t like the answer- how will you change that?
Prayers and blessings to you and to all those affected by this tragedy. You are loved. You are worthy. And you are called to more than this.