The Weapons We Carry (abridged)

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The following note was excerpted from a longer message. The original is published here in Western Friend’s online library.

Dear Friends: Our children today face everyday lives that are fraught with fear and emotional danger. Even as adults we live in a world where road rage and random mass shootings have become part of the fabric of everyday life. Our political world has become filled with chaos, corruption, and lies to the point where we begin to wonder what will come next. I know that my own response to this could easily verge on defensiveness and the urge to fight back, and I have to work to find other ways of coping.

Our culture has become more aware of domestic abuse in these last few decades, and there is now an onus on spouses who physically injure their partners. We carry other weapons besides our fists, however. It is very common in families for verbal and emotional abuse to also be part of the mix, and this can also result in injuries and disabilities – ones that cannot be seen by the eyes. Those who perpetrate emotional and verbal abuse are using weapons just as lethal as the discharge from a pistol or an assault rifle. Each of us automatically carries these weapons with us wherever we go, and we have no safety to place on such weapons, so that they will not go off unintentionally.

What leads a person to verbally abuse another? Like rape or physical battering, it is all about power, I think. For some reason, I feel inadequate and need to assert I am powerful, so I use innuendo, insult, bullying, or spend a lot of time “telling people off”.

We have all used our mouths and behaviors as weapons at some time or another. I find that if I can be attentive to my own internal knowing, I can spot it when my ego has decided to assert itself through weaponizing an interaction. As I become more attentive to my effect on the world in this way, I become a model for others. This reaches out past my local world and the effect can be experienced in the people I elect, the nation that I am part of, and the world on a global scale. It has to start with me, though.

– Maria Arrington, Glacier Valley Worship Group (NPYM)