Monday, October 25, 2010

Bridges of Hope by Emily VanLaeys

A dear friend of mine is in deep despair because of all the evil she sees in the world. I have known this woman for many years. She is a warm-hearted, creative, compassionate, and beautiful person. It pains me to see her in so much despair, so I’m trying to come up with words that might give her some hope. It’s hard, because she thinks I’m a “Pollyanna” new age-thinker, and that “the apocalypse is upon us while we cling to our new age notions of positive outcome and souls in joy.” Maybe I can’t boost my friend out of the pit of despair, but perhaps my thoughts will help someone else who is down there with her.

My friend says that she looks around and sees "starvation, weapons sales, drug wars, oil spills, and on and on.” I see these things, too, but only in the news. I don’t think my friend sees many of these things first-hand. The media keeps these horrors in the forefront of the news, making people feel helpless, hopeless, and overwhelmed. These feelings prevent people from trying to make the changes that will tip the scale on the side of goodwill and light.

We have to search for the good because it's quiet, and maybe too busy doing good works to spend time on PR, not to mention the media doesn’t want to bother with them. We can find a lot of good news just by searching for it on the internet. And there are so many organizations of volunteers and non-profit employees that have as their goals: peace and justice, human rights, saving the environment, and on and on. One example that my husband mentioned as he went out the door this morning was the group of German missionaries he met when he was in Ethiopia. The Germans were not evangelizing. They were just trying to educate people to stop the mutilation of women and girls that is part of the culture there. Then there's Heifer Project International, providing people with farm animals and the knowledge to raise them; there are all the microenterprise organizations that help poor people get started in business; there's Amnesty International, working to end human rights abuse, Habitat for Humanity, and many, many more.  The point is that all over the world people are doing things, not just thinking, in positive ways, to transform the world into a better place.

Gift of cows from Heifer Project International
My friend says she doesn’t believe in a god with a magic wand who’s going to make it all come out right in the end, and she doesn’t believe in the power of good thoughts to make things right.  She says it’s up to us to change the world, and I agree – I just don’t think we’re alone in this task.  I don’t believe in a god with a magic wand, but I do believe that our creator is Love and Light; that God has more power than the forces of evil; that there is a divine plan that is not totally clear to people living within the limitations of this physical world; that there is all kinds of activity taking place in those realms not apparent to our physical senses.

My friend has the ability to see, or at least feel and hear, some of the reality of the "invisible" world, but not all. I can’t see them, but I know that the beings and intelligences on those other levels are vibrating at a higher rate than our eyes and ears can detect. We know about the existence of infrared light waves that we can't see, and sound waves that only animals can hear. Scientists keep discovering more and more about the "invisible" world, proving to us that there is so much more going on in the universe than we can experience directly. And my faith tells me that most of it is happening for good.

Scientists are studying the Quantum Theory which states that everything in the universe vibrates. When I talk about being a light in the darkness, I mean that we can vibrate at a higher rate than the physical world around us. I have learned to do this through meditation and focusing on the good, and I like to think that my higher vibrations or light energies affect those around me in a positive way. When we focus on the negativity that saturates our news; when we are depressed, hopeless, despairing; our energy is heavy and low. So we have a choice: do we want to contribute to the dark energies of the world and hide our light under a bushel basket as Jesus implies in Matthew 5:15? Or will we choose to do as he asks: ". . . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your [creator] in heaven."

While my friend is not a Christian, she says that she agrees with the Christian philosophy that the world is full of evil. I would say this is not a philosophy: it is a fact that the world is full of evil. But it is also full of beauty and life; and there is more than that to the teachings of Jesus, who told us that the meek will inherit the earth and that we must learn to love our neighbors as ourselves, and love our enemies, too! Jesus warned that there would be wars, famines, and earthquakes at the beginning of the earth’s birth pangs – the pangs that herald the birth of a new earth: the one spoken of in Isaiah 2:4 when soldiers “shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” I believe that we are in the time of great tribulation that must precede the coming of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) (Isaiah 65:17).  Regarding this time, Jesus said:  ". . . because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." 

So this is the time to be especially vigilant against the forces of evil. We can be overwhelmed and let our love for the world grow cold. Or we can listen to Jesus who said: "Be ye in the world, but not of it." Yes, we have to live here for now, but we can keep our eyes on the better way, and so be a light on that path.


  1. I just read your blog and it's great--I love your blogs! I think it will be helpful for those who are in despair over the negativity that surrounds us. You're so right--there is so much good in the world and that is not on the "political agenda." If we can remind others of the good in the world, I'm sure we can override the negativity and enjoy a better quality of life. ~ Debbie G.

  2. Thirty years ago only a handful of colleges in the U.S. offered peacemaking programs. Today, almost 100 US graduate schools and dozens of undergraduate colleges offer degrees or certificates in conflict resolution and peace studies.

    The Christian Science Monitor