In Houston everybody seems to be following the same shopping schedule converging on the Galleria area like flies to honey. I was running errands for my daughter and what should have taken thirty minutes round trip ended up taking a couple of hours. The irony was I carefully chose the time of day best suited for running those errands. (Note to self- There is no good time of day to run errands in Houston).
The biggest thing I noticed going in and out of stores was the heightened security measures. It was obvious to me retailers were making every effort to protect their customers and assure them safe passage during this holiday season. Signs were posted warning customers to lock their purchases out of sight in their vehicles and to be aware of everything and everyone around you walking to and from your car. What a way to enter the holiday season with one eye looking over your shoulder while making your way to and from your car and home. My nephew Tom spent the weekend working at Dickens on the Strand in Galveston experiencing similar security notices and came away with much the same feeling I felt, fear getting a stronghold on our every day lives.
It reminded me of my days as a teacher substituting in elementary school. I remember asking the kids if they knew what the opposite of love was, and they instantly responded with hate as the answer. I applauded them in their efforts but told them they were close but not correct in their answer. They looked confused and bewildered by my assertion. Various hands went up with a variety of answers all continuing to fall short of the word I was looking for, and that word was fear. At the root of hatred is fear. In essence, fear is the absence of love. Fear cannot coexist with love. Which brings me to my point, how much of your life are you willing to give up to fear? Based on my religious background, if God is love, than fear is the absence of God and love. Love is universal in each of our recognized beliefs. The choice is yours. It’s a choice only you can select, not the media, not the politicians, and not the terrorists. Protect the love, joy and happiness in your life! Treasure it! Pass it on to your children and to the generations to come. Based on recent events, the holidays are even more important to me now, the love of family and friends is secured in the safest location of all, my heart.
Guard and protect your love and joy at all cost and when you give it unconditionally it will grow exponentially to fill the ends of the earth where no place will be left for fear to reside. That’s the world I choose to live in with everyone else. Now it’s your choice!
Originally Published in The Bay City Tribune on December 13, 2015