When bad things happen — whether at the personal, community, state, national or world level — how we rise up again comes down to coming together in the name of love. In this spirit, I wanted to share the words of my Goddard colleague, Norwegian Maike Garland, who writes from Norway where millions are marching for love.
I am glad to be here in spite of the horrific events~the bombing and the killing of the youth and adults at the camp. It was unimaginable and unreal and then turned more and more horrendous. But now I am glad to be here during this time….The love and caring, the empathy and thoughtfulness and the engagement of everyone in helping everyone get through this and stay human. Our prime minister said directly following the events, ‘Violence must be met with greater openess. Terror should be met with more deomocracy.’ Bush, on the other hand, said directly following 9/11, Let’s hunt them down.’ There has been a strong call for strengthening the multicultural, open and democratic aspects of Norway. Last night Kaia and I participated in a march for love and unity attended by thousands. We could hardly march, the city was so filled with people of all ages and ancestries. All over the country similar marches took place. The father of a killed 14 year old spoke here and he was amazing in returning the love he felt from the larger community and in calling for society to listen to the youth and their voices, calling for youth in taking up the work after his son and calling for an engaged and open society. “If one man can show that much hate, think how much love we can show together” said a 16 year old girl after the tragedy.
While what has happened in Norway is beyond the beyond on the scales of terror, Maike’s response along with her countrypeople’s show the path home: how when the worst happens, it’s time to draw together and make the light of love brighter than the darkness of the terror, loss, despair and anguish.
This summer, I’ve witnessed hundreds of people coming out to stand in community in the face of devastating social services and arts closures and cuts. I also seen friends come together to celebrate a widower’s 85th birthday with vodka, herring and cake. I’ve been part of a group of people sharing coconut cream pie and hugs with a dear friend who lost her mother suddenly. I’ve seen community gather around someone facing financial hardship. While losses and budget cuts aren’t on the same scale as the tragedy in Norway, in all cases, it comes down to us simply showing up for each other, and in that coming together, doing exactly what the Norwegian prime minister said: meeting the moment with tenderness, openness, and also all the love in our hearts.