The Banner Over Us


On Monday, I spoke about getting out of our comfort zones for the purpose of growing, of embracing discomfort in order to produce (see post here). I spoke about being intrepid. I’m a big champion of being intrepid. The world needs men and women to walk out their paths in boldness and bravery. It’s essential to our growth individually as well as our growth collectively. 

At the time of that blog post writing, I had no idea its publication would coincide with the unspeakable tragedy that unfolded in Las Vegas, Nevada. My heart is still heavy for those who have lost loved ones so senselessly and it goes out to those who continue to suffer, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally as they attempt to come to terms with all of it. 

It is very easy in the face of such terror, in the face of such horror, to succumb to our natural emotions of anger and frustration at the injustice and depravity of such an act. However, it is in these very moments when we must be intrepid.  

I’m going to come out of my comfort zone to breathe in courage and exhale fear.
— Nazeeha Najimudeen

We must be courageous. We must be bold. We must be undaunted. And, perhaps, most importantly, we must be intentional. To echo Monday’s post's sentiment: 

We, each of us, are like ships. We, all of us, are purposed to go to our unique places. More often than not, getting to those unique places is fraught with cark and care. The unknown usually is. But we must be intrepid.

I cannot walk out your journey. My steps will never be your steps. Therefore, my impact will never be your impact. But, know this, dear readers, you have impact, you have purpose, you have something to give that no one in your realm of influence can give. 

Dolly Parton said, “Know who you are and do it on purpose.” Find out your special gift, that thing you were purposed for from your mother’s womb, and be intentional about stepping into it and walking it out. It will touch the lives of those around you and in turn touch the lives of people around them. Be the little pebble that starts the first ripple. 

But how? Well, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought this week. As I wrote in The Little Chapel That Stood, when we are faced with such dire and tragic times, the core of our humanity galvanizes and we come together. Together we are stronger. Together we are intrepid. But what is that core? What rises in our spirits that binds us together? 

It is love.  

Love was a sacred garment, woven of a fabric so thin that it could not be seen, yet so strong that even mighty death could not tear it, a garment that could not be frayed by use, that brought warmth into what would otherwise be an intolerable, cold world- but at times love could also be as heavy as chain mail. Bearing the burden of love, on those occasions when it was a solemn weight, made it more precious when, in better times, it caught the wind in sleeves like wings, and lifted you.
— Dean Koontz, False Memory

Lady Gaga sounded a call to arms this week that follows in the same vein, imploring us to be kind, to put aside those things which divide us so easily and be intentional in acts of kindness. 

We are unified in our humanity, and the only thing that we all know, that we all appreciate in one another, is kindness. This has to come before all things, and you must operate relentlessly this way. With everything you have.
— Lady Gaga

Kindness is an attribute of love; therefore, we- each one of us- is capable of embracing it fully. Here are some other attributes of love that provide a compass by which we can steer our course. 

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame or disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (The Passion Translation)

In the ancient Aramaic, Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense actually translates as Love does not stare at evil. Love refuses to keep resentment alive. Instead, love overlooks offenses, intentional or otherwise, and focuses on what is good, what is noble, what is worthy. That sort of love transforms the spirit, both for he who gives it and he who receives it. As I wrote in a previous post, it’s the greatest thing you’ll ever learn (see post here).

In essence, Thomas Merton's “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether they are worthy or not,” should be our anthem. 

So, as we head into this weekend, hopefully with time spent with those dear to our hearts, remember this: 

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.
— Vincent van Gogh

Pay it forward this weekend. Love lavishly. Love extravagantly. Love continually. But know this, to love in this manner will take you out of your comfort zone. Demolish the ramparts of your comfort zone. Raze them to the ground and soldier on valiantly, and let the banner over you be Love.