“There is peace even in the storm.” — Vincent van Gogh

A summer hailstorm kicked up yesterday afternoon, coming on quickly and with unexpected ferocity. As the hail grew larger, it fell faster, battering everything it touched. I don’t know why, but as I watched the storm, the tragic shootings earlier this month at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston came to mind.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” —Mother Teresa

When I heard news of the shootings, I was heartbroken for the victims, their families, the community of Charleston and for us all, as a nation, that we still have such hatred and racism in our midst.

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Less that a week after the shootings, the families of the victims made headlines when they rose, one after another, in the courtroom to address the young man who had killed their loved ones. I marveled at their ability to forgive, even as they are only beginning to grieve. They have shown far more strength, courage, wisdom and love than I believe I could muster if I were in their shoes.

To me, the peace in this storm is found in their example, in their refusal to allow hate to win, in their insistence that love be the legacy their dear ones leave behind.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Video credits: Thanks to Barbara McAfee for the piano improvisation that I used as soundtrack. Thanks to Philip Goddard for use of his recording of windchimes at the end of the video, which he graciously shared at freesound.org