Fires burn across the land,
The smoke fills the skies.
Angry men shout out and scream;
Some break down and cry.
Children watch as people die;
They see the hate, the pain.
Their little eyes can’t believe
The suffering and the shame.
Is this the world we want to show our children?
Is this the place we want them to call home?
We tell them that we love them but don’t show them the same.
Is this the truth we want them to know?
I wrote these lyrics more than 20 years ago. I was almost 18 years old and had just watched news coverage of the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. I was horrified as pictures of violence, hate, fear and desperation flashed before my eyes. I was overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear even though I lived on the opposite side of the country. I did not understand it all and I knew there were children and other young people trying to make sense of the chaos, as well.
I wondered what these children were learning from the situation. What lessons about life were they gleaning? Were they giving up all hope at that moment? Was their innocence slipping away as disturbing images of humanity at its worst invaded their ideals of safety and security? Were they resigning to believe that this was how life was supposed to be? Were these children accepting the hate, violence and pride as their truth?
Now, twenty-two years later, we find ourselves seeing familiar images flash on our TV screens. And I cannot help but wonder. Where are those children who watched similar scenes so many years ago? They are the adults of our world now. Are they watching in horror as they did as a child? Are they worried about their own children and the effect this situation will have on their young lives? Are they outraged? Are they scared? Are they worried? Or are they hitting the power button, shrugging their shoulders and walking away? After all, that’s life. That’s the truth of our existence and there’s nothing anyone can do about it….
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
There is hope, dear friends. We can redefine the truth that our world accepts today. It starts with Love. It starts with you and me.