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Where there is darkness, let me bring light.
— St. Francis of Assisi
This week, you’ll have the opportunity to read a mother’s story that will both break your heart and lift it up in healing love. Scarlett Lewis’s book Nurturing, Healing, Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness is not a story of rage and revenge as one could well understand in the face of such a horrific experience as the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. No, this is truly a love story, a story that clearly sends the message that love itself never ends and that it is our destiny as a people to learn and apply this lesson even in the face of circumstances that are beyond comprehension.
When tragedy strikes, our first human response is to react in anger and with rage in our hearts, to attempt to end such dark behavior by throwing more darkness at the problem. Yet our rational minds tell us that reacting with darkness in the form of hatred and madness simply expands and multiplies the darkness. The only answer to so much darkness is to bring light. As Saint Francis of Assisi reminded us, “Where there is darkness, let me bring light.”
Scarlett, in writing this book and sharing the lessons of her bodhisattva son Jesse, is asking all of us to bring our own light to the omnipresence of darkness in our world. She asks us to see that love itself is the way forward, reiterating what Jesus taught us: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is the only solution to the kind of darkness that brings such violence.
Scarlett Lewis has faced the ultimate darkness. She has shared, from a deep place of truth within, the agony of losing her Jesse at such a tender age. She has shared her very personal journey back to living and teaching how to become instruments of love.
One of the greatest lessons of my own life was learning to turn the inner rampage of hatred and anger toward my own father for the reprehensible behavior and abandonment of his family into an inner reaction more closely aligned with God and God-realized love. I came to understand that my father was one of my greatest teachers, and that he played a part in helping me do the work I was destined to do. He gave me the opportunity to practice turning hostile thoughts into thoughts of forgiveness and love.
Loss and hurt make for a strange and painful journey indeed, as Scarlett knows so well and writes about from a divine place of truth and passion. She has come to know and teach the eternal truth that whatever the problem, no matter how severe, love is the answer. This is the message of all of our great spiritual masters.
They taught that enlightenment does not bring love; rather love itself is what brings enlightenment. As the 16th-century metaphysical Christian mystic known as Saint John of the Cross once reminded his followers, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.” This is Jesse’s instruction to Scarlett and to all of us as well. And this is precisely what I felt as Scarlett’s poignant words infused me throughout my reading of this beautifully honest book. Her message is a reflection of Jesse’s life. It is what I humbly attempt to live and teach. Where there is hatred, change the thought. Where there is no love, we must put love, and then surely we will find love.
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