The Flags Fly At Half Staff

The flags fly at half-staff in remembrance of the dead and a poignant reminder of loss. Maybe they should stay that way for perpetuity, since this war will never end.

Whether it’s in Kenya, Lebanon, Paris, South Carolina, or New York, when one of us is hurt, we all are hurt. Whether it’s international terrorism or homegrown, one thing is for certain – evil will always exist.

Indian activist and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi said, “where there is love, there is life.” Unfortunately, the opposite holds true as well. Where there is hate, there is death. Intolerance breeds destruction.

How can we all not suffer from some form of PTSD? Violence and horrific images are everywhere we turn. Because life must go on, we attempt to go about our business as usual and not give into the fear; however, fear remains in the dark crevices of our psyche.

As I watch the news or read the headlines, I wonder when the simple act of walking out my front door will feel more like Russian roulette. Many in the U.S. and around the world already suffer this truth, why shouldn’t I? Why should I feel safe? Safety is a luxury.

To combat this depressing dilemma, I remind myself to practice love and compassion. I remind myself to be grateful for the freedom to speak openly in a safe place. Being grateful for everyday freedoms, are most certainly some of the things I take for granted, among other things.

Painful events increase my efforts to be a better person – someone worthy of my dog’s unconditional love. I’m reminded of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Calcutta missionary Mother Theresa. Her love for all humans gave her the strength and courage to stand up to injustice making many lives better. Even after death, she continues to inspire new generations.

While there is a seemingly endless cycle of sadness in our world, faith, hope and love remain steadfast in my heart. If Nelson Mandela, former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, can hold to his convictions while spending a quarter of a century of his life in prison, the least I can do for all the peacemakers in the world is share compassion and love.

Mandela recited the poem Invictus by William Earnest Henley during his prison stay to lift the spirits of his fellow inmates. I find this poem inspiring as well.

by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

Author: Angela Ashley

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