I’ve seen the devil. He, and she, can be our neighbor. He sometimes poses as a friend. Sadly, he can even be a family member. He has the ability to invade the most sacred of people. He causes pain and suffering that is hard to see in others, let alone bare within ourselves. We see the mark of his hard hitting anger and hate. It is left as a hand print on a small child, an elderly patron, or any one of us waking up to face our daily lives. Often the imprint left behind is invisible to the eye, but unmistakeable in the carnage he leaves behind. He lives in the drug, the drug maker, the drug seller. He resides in the angry boss, the controlling spouse, the abusive parent. He resides in the moments we give up to him with hate or scorn. We open the door, and he walks right in. He can overwhelm and over power the best of any of us.
I’ve seen the hero. And he and she is Love. The voice of our friends. Our neighbors. The voice of the sibling. The parent. The grandparent. The voice of the stranger. The voice that says “I love you”. The voice that says “I will help you”. The voice that says “I am here” even when you feel alone. You can hear Him in the teacher who says “I know you can do this”. The co-worker who says “I will help you”. You can see the Hero in the community who gathers together to feed, to weep, to help. The Hero is the one who stands up to the devil, and bravery is the courage that love is.
There are moments in my life when I am so full of hate towards the devil I see or the presence that I feel, that I open my own door to the devil, and nearly invite him in. I realize I won’t win against him with my own hate. I can only beat him with love.
I have to love him to death, because it is the only thing that will kill him.
Every day I see the result of his work. Injured children. Abandoned children. Elderly with no food, no heat, no one to talk to. People scared of being alone. People scared of being with someone, anyone, else. Friends and family who fall out and don’t fully understand why. People, hurting, just hurting and unhealing.
But every day, every single day of my life, I have seen the grace and dignity of people who will not give up. People who spread their love, knowing the only way to recoup any love is to give it away. Every time I see the face of hate, I am sure to find myself surrounded by faces of love. I have seen those who did not have the strength to reach out or stand up, be helped up by someone else who had the love to kneel down with them, and assist them. Or exist with them where they are.
I’ve seen the devil. I mourn over what the devil has done, what he is capable of. But I have the gift of faith. Faith in me, faith in you, faith in the strength of love. I’m tired of wasting precious life moments looking in the face of the devil. I don’t ever want to see him again.