"Love brings up everything unlike itself. Fear is detoxed, subconsciously brought to the fore whenever love arrives. Once aroused, it will either trigger us or depart from us, depending on whether it is forgiven or punished." ~ Marianne Williamson ~
I lay awake at 3 a.m. this morning thinking about that quote and about my friend Erin.
I can't believe that you don't know Erin since EVERYONE knows Erin, but in the off chance that you haven't made her acquaintance, let me tell you about her. She is an intelligent, outspoken, funny, gorgeous woman. When I say outspoken, I mean REALLY outspoken. She has given her opinions on TV news talk shows, on Huffington Post, at the White House, and in about 1000 tweets every day on Twitter.
She is the mother of two, the loving wife of Aaron, a devoted daughter and sister. She is an award-winning journalist and a member of the BlogHer staff.
Over the past couple of years, she has been fighting a battle with lupus, an autoimmune disease that has made her the veteran of too many surgeries.
It is beyond me why anyone, much less several people, would think it is ok to post this kind of ugliness aimed at anyone. That it is targeted toward a mother of small children and someone who is fighting a deadly disease is even more reprehensible.
The weird thing is that it isn't that uncommon. Time after time when I have seen people online open their hearts fully and generously sharing stories of grief, loss and vulnerability, they are viciously attacked with the most ugly of words and accusations.
I've seen people accused of being liars about their sick children and about their own illnesses and grief. I have seen people told they were "making it all up." That they deserved their loss and pain.
It's a little much sometimes. No, I'm lying. It's a lot much sometimes.
I can't figure it out, either, but I have two guesses - 1. People are out there waiting to prey on weaknesses. Like sharks smelling blood in the water, they see the wounded and go into an attack frenzy. 2. Marianne Williamson is right. They see someone shining bright with love and care for humanity, someone honest and open and free, and they rush toward that light, not to bask in it, not to read by it, but to try and smother it out.
Either way it hurts. It doesn't just hurt me because I love Erin and Loralee and Katie and Tanis and all of those other honest, open people who have shared and who have been beaten down for it, though that does hurt a lot.
It hurts me because it takes away from my humanity, too. It makes me worry that I might close down just a little, choose my words more carefully, shine my light less brightly, because I never know when someone will come for me the way they have for those women.
I want to promise that I won't. I don't know what I'd do if someone threatened me or the people I love, and I don't want to find out. I just want that kind of ugliness to be over. Will it ever stop?