Faith over fear. Love over hate.

This morning after Mya's eye appointment (she's rather obsessed with getting glasses), I went to visit a neighbor/friend. From the moment I walked through the front door, I could tell she was having an off day; I am quite familiar with off days so I can sense them without words being spoken. We tried to have a conversation, but after ten minutes of back and forth between two word sentences and yelling up to the kids, I felt the distinct impression that she needed a break. I quickly and silently assessed my abilities and patience level and offered to take her kids for a couple of hours so she could rest.

I can't tell you how many times she's done the same for me. And she's not the only one. There are a handful of women around me that always have a watchful eye on my well being, and it makes all the difference in my life. I know that at any given moment, there is someone I can call--someone who will help, even if it's inconvenient. I have been the recipient of so much kindness, and now when I am able, I try to pay it forward.

In lieu of the constant violent attacks, my heart often feels troubled and afraid. I avoid most movie theaters at night now. I'd rather not go to large public gatherings such as football games or concerts. And my gypsy heart is finding home to be a safe place and would rather not venture too far abroad. There are no safe places anymore. Schools, churches, malls, airports, sporting events, firework shows, concerts, social clubs have all been targeted. So what are we to do? How do we fight all the hate that seems to be permeating the thoughts and hearts of so many people?

We fight back with kindness. We do as my neighbors and friends do for me--we remain watchful, and we help when we can. There's so much need in the world today. In my small circle in Texas, there is so much to be done. There is laundry to be folded, colicky babies to be held, meals to be delivered, wounds to be rebandaged, visits to be made, hugs to be had, lawns to be mowed, trashes to be taken out/in, and smiles to be passed along. These are just a handful of ways I contribute to friends around me. When I think of others, I forget myself. I forget my fears. I forget my worries. I concentrate on them, and in doing so, I am reminded that love is real, and it's contagious.

Let us not be fearful friends. I tell myself that daily. I choose to have faith--faith over fear. Kindness over meanness. Gratitude over selfishness. Love over hate. Please be loving; it goes a long way.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley