WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

How Can I "Be Love"?

By DeEtte Waleed

“When day comes, we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”
—Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”

“How long, O Great Mystery, how long?” I ask as I turn off the news of yet another act of senseless violence ending the lives of innocent people. As a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, I am filled with anger and fear but also compassion—and questioning.

I’m curious about these shooters. What happened in their young lives that they had to seek the attention of the world by shooting others? What has caused them to seek “fame” in such a violent way? What causes a person to kill people they don’t know in order to be accepted, to be recognized?

At a March For Our Lives event, a protester is seen from behind wearing a very large sign that says #Enough

How many mothers’ tears does it take to heal our wounds? Not only the tears of Black mothers and Native mothers, but the tears of white mothers too? Will it make a difference that the tears are now coming from blue eyes?

Amanda Gorman reminds us that there is always “light in this never-ending shade;” that love can be our legacy “if only we’re brave enough to be it.” How can I be love instead of being anger and fear? It’s easy to love my grandchildren when they agree with me. When they don’t, I say my truth and then shut my mouth—even when that’s hard. So how often do I need to say, “violence is not the answer,” or “don’t kill,” when the shootings keep repeating?

I’m not sure I know how to be love towards someone who seems so far from me, but I know I want to try. Instead of putting more fear and anger into the world, I can close my mouth and send love-energy to all parents of difficult children, including those who are hardest to love. Like any change in my life, I can only do it one small act, one small thought at a time. I can only pray it will be enough.


Mamma God, wrap us and all our children in your arms of love. Give us the courage to be love even when we are afraid. Blessed be.

About the Author

DeEtte Waleed

DeEtte Waleed (she/her) is an educator and peacebuilder. She worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Zambia, developing conflict resolution programs for refugees, and taught courses titled "Are We Too Violent?" and "Gender and Violence" at Portland State University....


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