To the Editor:
Snow fell on us last night. I shovelled it early this morning. And as soon as I finished, it started snowing again! Mother Nature’s sense of humor. But it didn’t last long. That was the nice thing.
Of course it was nothing compared to the storms on the east coast, especially in the U.S. A friend from there wrote to me: Icy floods. Power out for days. People without heat staying with friends, or in public buildings to warm up, cook, check email and charge cell phones. People bring food and water to neighbors with none. They huddle together. “But without TVs and computers”, he says, “we say we feel isolated. We wait for the power to come back on so that we can go back into our houses by ourselves and pretend to be independent again.”
The point, of course, is that we’re not independent. And though we may be cut off from outside power from time to time – and it could and probably will happen to us too – we do have inside power: The kindness and concern of friends and neighbors, the snuggles of family members to keep each other warm, the good deeds done even to strangers in need or by them to us when we are in need. That’s real power! It warms us in ways deeper even than our furnaces can.
Don’t get me wrong. I like our furnace. And our electricity, and stove, and clean running water. But even more – yes, even more – I’m thankful for the power within us, and among us. We can turn on our inner powers of kindness and care and compassion at will, if we only will. Regardless of the weather outside, and even when Mother Nature is not in a cranky mood. Because our nature – human nature, at its best and as it is meant to be – can always generate and radiate light and warmth. We’re not isolated. We’re all and always connected, one way or another.
This winter, when the weather outside can be frightful, let’s not let it be frightful for anyone in our own homes. Not for any wife or husband, mom or dad, and certainly not for any of our kids. The outside weather may at times be abusive, and even violent. But we don’t have to be. Ever. That’s the nice thing.
Ron Shonk, The Proactive Violence Prevention Project