The Stars at Night

Posts 04

I’ve lived in Georgia for 15 years, but Texas is home.  Texas is where I learned how to ride a bike, how to write in cursive, how to drive.  It’s where I had my first job, my first love, my first college football game. I grew up there.  It is where I learned how to love.  There is a saying that everything is bigger in Texas.  This is true of many things…hair, hats, pickup trucks…to name a few.  It is also true of people’s hearts.  The news coming out of El Paso is heartbreaking.  Obscene tragedy. Evil.  It takes my breath away, and it hits close to home.  My daughter was not in El Paso yesterday.  She was, however, out shopping with a friend for back to school clothes.


She is safe.  Other children weren’t.  This problem seems so big and so insurmountable that it feels like it can’t get better.  It’s tempting to think that if we can’t do something big, then we can’t do anything.  Hate is strong and often runs deep.  Love is stronger.  There is no grief without love.  The nation weeps because the nation loves.  It is love that drove El Pasoans from their homes yesterday to form lines for blood donations…lines that wrapped around buildings, lines so long that the Red Cross had to ask people to return the next day.  It is love that had people in the streets handing out pizza and water bottles to those kind souls waiting in lines.  It is love that spurs on first responders and hospital personnel to push through the difficulty of viewing all the carnage and still allows them to really see the victims.

I learned how to love in Texas.  I was fortunate to grow up in a family that modeled loving hearts.  I was never taught to hate others.  That’s how it happens, you know?  Hate has to be taught.  Love is instinctive.  I was a preschool teacher once upon a time.  I had a class full of 3 and 4-year-olds.  I absolutely love working with kids this age.  They are innocent and honest.  One year I had 2 students named Andrew.  They both had last names that were difficult to pronouce. One of the other students was trying to tell me something about Andrew.  “Which one?” I asked her.  The student replied, “the brown Andrew.”  One boy was white.  One was Hispanic. They were all friends.  The description might cause adults to cringe, but it was just a descriptor.  The little girl could just as well have told me it was the kid in the red shirt.  Children this age generally don’t care about skin color other than using it to describe what someone looks like.  They don’t hate others because they look different.  If anything, children that age have a natural empathy that adults sometimes lack.


The point is this: children are not born with hate in their hearts.  Other people put it there.  Scripture tells us that Jesus says this: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22: 37-39)


Love your neighbor. Sometimes this is easy.  I will admit, my neighbors are easy to love. They form a wonderful and supportive community.  Those are my literal neighbors.  But the reality is that Jesus did not mean to confine this directive to the people who live next door to us.  We are not called to follow his command only when it is easy.  People can be hard to love sometimes.  They are imperfect.  They say hurtful things.  They disappoint us.  And we ourselves are hard to love sometimes, because we are all human and imperfect.  What if we are able to love people when they are hard to love?  What if by intervening and being a light in someone’s darkness we are able to stop the hate?  You never know what can change someone’s perspective.  It could be as small as a smile.  It could be as big as forgiveness. Imagine what we can accomplish if we can harness our capacity for love and share it with those who are lost or angry or disillusioned.


Texas will heal.  El Paso will come together and support the victims and their families.  They shouldn’t have to go through this though.  The destruction starts with hate.  The solution starts with love.  I will absolutely pray for all those affected.  But I will also love.  Love is a verb.  I am not in a position of power.  I do not have a loud voice, but I do have a voice and I will continue to use it.  I will teach my children that it is wrong to hate.  I will counsel them when they don’t exhibit loving behavior.  We are all in community.  We are connected.  We all sleep under the same stars at night.

So, I will end with this…”Deep in the Heart of Texas”.  Everyone from Texas knows this song. Clap along if you remember…


The stars at night, are big and bright,

Deep in the heart of Texas,

The prairie sky is wide and high,

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The sage in bloom is like perfume,

Deep in the heart of Texas,

Reminds me of, the one I love,

Deep in the heart of Texas.

full post


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  1. Betty "Gigi" says:

    I wish I could bottle the love you so happily share with others. I hope those who read your blog will take a moment to reflect on their actions and “Love thy neighbor”.

  2. Debbie Lionetti says:

    I absolutely look forward to reading your words. Just when I think the one I read is perfect, the next one is even better. You have a way with words and those words have rescued me many times.

  3. Sandra Ferguson says:

    Beautiful young lady. Hate has to be taught and we hear that rhetoric every day in places where it is promoted and should not be tolerated. In France last week Bannon told the far right crowd to embrace their racism. Read the man’s manifesto and he gives your the cause. Bless the people of El Paso as they live side by side as friends and neighbors and deal with the end result of insisting hate for a purpose. I woke up this morning in tears and very depressed knowing something else had happened. Two hundred and forty mass shootings this year. Friends consoling from other countries voicing the reason. I stand for America and I won’t be silenced. We know better and now we must do better. Amen.

  4. Amy Chastain says:
  5. Sandra Ferguson says:

    We can and we will. You express the thoughts of so many. Your words bring hope to those if us who want a better day for this country.

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