Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins 1 Peter 4:8
When we bought the property that we have called home for over thirty years, it was flat treeless farm land. Before we even had house plans complete, we planted over a dozen more oaks and a small grove of pine trees around the location of our future home. The other side, we left bare thinking if we needed to sell it, future owners would want to decide where to place trees. Our trees are now large and spreading. Glen frequently trims them off our house and garage, particularly at the start of hurricane season. Little did we know when we decided on a combination of forest and open field, we were creating the perfect environment for raptors, particularly hawks and owls. With plenty of large trees to build nests, the birds also have an open space to search for food: mice, squirrels, rabbits and snakes. Over the years, we have watched many bird families raise their young, teaching them all they need to know to be successful adults and start their own families. This afternoon, I contemplated national affairs, particularly recent events in Charlottesville. I was wondering if I should go to a vigil or light a candle in front of my house. Then, I was distracted by a pair of hawks teaching their young to fly. The babies screamed and hollered as Mom and Dad encouraged them to leap from the nest and fly. They yelled praise and support as the babies made tentative loops over the house and down the driveway. Another generation of hawks flying out into the world. Their efforts reminded me of Mother Teresa’s instruction, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” But, I think that the quote from Mother Teresa has been misinterpreted to mean that we quietly stay at home, focusing only on those we love. There comes a time when loving our family calls us to a larger stage as we work to make the future a better place. Ordinary people must stand up for what is right. We are commanded by God to love our neighbors, but love calls us beyond our homes and into the gathering places of our community to say, “No more. Stop, this is not right.” A lot of people are shocked by what happened in Charlottesville yesterday. But, the responses from both sides have been simmering for years. Ironically, Charlottesville was the home of Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of our country, who was uncharacteristically silent on slavery saying it would be a problem for future generations to solve. Other generations have failed to reconcile the hurt and bigotry of slavery’s legacy with the founding documents of our country calling for equality for all. So, like the hawks, I come full circle. I must focus on those God puts in my path to influence in my daily work. But, love does not mean silence. My influence should be used boldly and with a hawk’s scream if necessary.