Where there is hatred...
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
— Saint Francis

It's cold this morning in my little house in the big woods, the kind of cold that paints frost crystals all over everything and sharpens the air. Winter's coming. 

But I have coffee and a fire in the wood stove. Mark Knopfler is singing to me. I have words to write.

I also have heart work to do. 

So much hate in the world right now, swirling in from all directions like snow in a blizzard. Hang out on social media for a minute and it swirls so thick I lose track of which direction it is coming from or which way it is blowing.

It's easy to get lost in snow like that.

And so I keep coming back to love as an anchor. 

I don't mean love in the casual way I say I love bacon. More like the way I say I love coffee. As in, I will walk three miles through snow to get a good cup. I will haul a hand grinder and good beans with me on a cruise, forage for half and half during the day, and play games with room service hot water in a quest to brew one perfect mug of coffee.

I'm talking about the kind of love that has action behind it, an activated love that changes things.

And that is where I have work to do. Hate and fear are a taint, like cream gone bad in a cup of otherwise awesome coffee. 

I've been meditating on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis this week, and I've realized that much of it is beyond me right now. I've decided to break it down and take it one line at a time.

So for today, my challenge to myself and to you if you'd like to join me, is to hold this line in your heart:

Where there is hatred, let me sow love

I plan to carry these words with me, making them the focus of my day, and I invite you to join me. Look for opportunities to speak from love, to act from love, to show love. Not only where it is deserved, but in all places, at all times, and with all people.

Sound like too much? As I write these words I have all sorts of objections clamoring within me. But what about... and what about... These people, these ideas, these actions, deserve hate, surely?

The answer, rather than my usual conflict, is going to be met, again, with this phrase:

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Kerry Schafer Comment
If You’re a Weed, Feed the Bees

These weeds are growing all over my yard.If it was up to me, we probably would have killed them all a long time ago. They are ugly. Worse, they grow tenacious, nasty little burrs that stick to shoe laces and pet fur.I asked the Viking why they were still standing after he came in from weed whacking one day.“They have flowers,” was what he said.

I pointed out the burr problem and he just shrugged. “They smell wonderful and the bees love them.”Once he’d pointed these salient facts out to me, I observed this for myself. The tiny red flowers on these plants are bee magnets. Bumble bees. Honey bees. Bees of all shapes and sizes. And they do have a beautiful fragrance. All of this makes them worth keeping around, even though they are not the most beautiful plant in the world and they manufacture burrs.

Me being me, I then went on to think that maybe some of us are put in this world to be weeds. To some people sharing space with us we might come across as annoying or prickly. But we are here for a reason. Possibly not as a sweet smelling bee attractant, but we have other strengths and strong points. Those who are “our people” or our tribe if you will, can see and appreciate us for what we are.

So, my thought for this Wednesday is to go ahead an embrace my weediness, and hope that you do likewise. Be the plant you were put here to be. Stand up straight, let your roots run deep, and feed your bees, whatever that means to you.

Eric C. Wilder