Voice and Vision

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41: Truce

I’ve been thinking about the dedicated health care workers who are verbally and physically attacked daily by dolts refusing to accept the truth about Covid and the need for vaccinations. I’ve also been thinking about Congressmen and women attacked and threatened by those spuing hatred, screaming falsehoods—and about the few crazy Congressmen and women who do their own spuing. Where has civility gone? Where has the universal imperative taught by all religions to love one’s neighbor disappeared to? Free speech does not mean one has the right to viciously attack with words and threats. Hatred is not freedom. It is hostility, malice, evil. And no one wants to live in it.

World Wars are started because of it. People die because of it. Progress ends because of it. No good thing happens where hatred exists. So why do we allow it?

Why can’t we see that some of what we allow under the pseudonym of “free speech” is harming society and has nothing to do with freedom? Why can’t we commit to freeing ourselves from hating? Why can’t we work at loving–and yes, it may take a bit of work, given how far down the hate lane we’ve wandered in recent years.

Christmas night I saw a production of All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 on PBS. If you can find it, see it. It is brilliant and beautiful. It’s about a real event that occurred one Christmas eve during WWI when Allied troops and Germans–enemies who had been voraciously killing each other–laid down their weapons and found a way to love. In the stark, death-filled No Man’s Land, together they sang carols, shook hands, played football, shared drink and provisions, exchanged names and addresses, and buried their dead. The event was remarkable, inspiring. And it really happened. Read about it. Know your history. Much history is terrible.  But this one singular moment reminds us of what might happen if we let it–a silent night without hatred, filled with calm. No, that wonderful moment did not end the war, nor did it even continue into following days. War resumed.  Because the top-down chain of command demanded it, and because humans follow their basest instincts when not inspired–when unaware that they could actually rise to something higher, holier.

Each speck of truth we cherish, each bit of hatred we replace with love in our individual lives, leads to more love and less hate in the world, leads to the freedom those soldiers in WWI and all the wars before and since, fought for. We honor them when we each make a truce within ourselves to let light shine by loving instead of hating.

Let There Be Light, Framed, by Gwendolyn Evans

Let There Be Light, framed oil w/mixed media, 26″ x 20″, sold. by Gwendolyn Evans

About the artwork: Let There Be Light, framed oil w/mixed media, 26″ x 20″, sold. This painting was the primal piece in my 2018 exhibition in my Bethlehem, Pennsylvania gallery, prior to my move to Maine. I entitled the exhibition Out of Dystopia and Into the Light. All dozen of my paintings dealt with light overcoming darkness. As I explained on accompanying signage, dystopia is from the Greek meaning bad place, an anti-utopian state in which everything is dark, unpleasant, bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded place; an undesirable, frightening society in which there is great suffering or injustice and humans live under an oppressive or dishonest government. Certainly, WW1 was such a time. Another painting from that exhibit (shown on this website with posting no.23) entitled Surviving Dystopia shows the bravery of those cleaning-up following war-time bombing in London.

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