Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simple Acts of Love: a Special for Domestic Violence Prevnention

I was blown away to be asked to be the keynote at the annual Father's of Hope breakfast that is done for the Domestic Violence Shelter. This amazing place does so much to prevent domestic violence in our area and come to the aid of victims. These men are honored each year in an ad that is done by the Star is amazing and those who donate to it make such a difference. But more than that...standing up makes a difference.....

here are my remarks:

Bear with me for a minute. I hope this will all be clear. But I have to tell a story….

Last week I went to topsail island.
18 months ago I was given the gift of the adoption of a sea turtle named chase.

Turtles are something I am VERY into. They tell us the story of our oceans, but they also tell us how we treat our oceans and how we treat the world we inhabit.

This magnificent animal was almost destroyed by propellers, had lost part of one of her powerful fins, and came very near to death.
Over the eighteen months at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, she was given regular care and nursed back to health.

As her adopted parent, I had her picture on the wall and I would regularly stop during each day and say a prayer for her..and from time to time go see her.

So here I was, her adopted father…one of them at least..and I had this amazing honor of walking her to the ocean, to return her home. Healthy once again.

This reporter, very insistent, was hanging over the side of the truck as we were getting Chase on her way and kept asking all sorts of questions to which all of us politely answered. Our attention, you see, was on Chase and her ride to the beach. But she kept asking and we answered and soon,  she went on her way. 

So, we get to the release and we walk Chase through the thousands of school children and others gathered; cheering and so thrilled to  see these beautiful creations, sharing in this great moment.

We walk her to the water and we take her to the crashing waves and in that moment; that blissful wonderful moment as she is beating the hell out of my elated to go home..there is that sweet release..that moment when you feel this magnificent animal returned to where she belongs.

I watched her turn and swish and then disappear into her world…and it was done..and she is home.

I let go tears and sobs of joy and I turned to walk away from the crowd to have a moment alone and here comes the reporter!
She said “how do you feel?”
I was able to get out. “so very happy”.
She asked “why?”
I said..”becuase chase is home”
She said..why do you or any of these people do this?
I said, “because it is a simple act of love”
And she said…”why is that important.”
I looked at her..and for a minute I was a little irritated..I thought “what a question? Why in the world ask that?”
But I looked at her and realized she was really being sincere, not smarmy and wanted to know.  “Why is it so important to do a simple act of love?”
It did not take but a second for me to say “because, when it is all said and done, it is truly all that matters and all that we have.”
“Nothing I acquire in this world. Nothing I make in this world. Nothing I will ever possess in this world will be buried with me. “But that…”
and I pointed to the ocean..and then to the cheering children watching this wonderful moment and to all those people who make those turtles well…
”that makes a difference…and that is important.”

And so, I left there and I was driving back to Wilmington and I got to thinking about this moment, where Kathy Gresham had asked me to speak to you this morning. A speaking engagement that frankly I thought was way out of my league and humbled me greatly.

I got to thinking about the way I got involved in this years ago by honoring my step dad and my father each year by participating in the ad that the star news does; promoting men who stand up against domestic violence. Examples.

And I got to thinking about what an amazing, loving, and power of example of father, husband, and friend my step dad has been over the years. What a great husband he has been to my mother; what respect he has for all women; what a power of example he sets.

I got to thinking about the men that would be in this room this morning and all of the acts of love, kindness, and good that each of you amass each and every day and I have been witness to over the years of knowing many of you.

I was washed with this feeling where that moment with that turtle..that simple act of love…was so symbolic of all of what you embody; what this event embodies.

Just like in that act, when we transcend our titles or roles in our day to day lives, what we have, where we are from and we rise to what is the best of us, the best actions in us, those are the “simple acts of love” those are the things that really matter.

Being here today, standing up for the victims of domestic violence, whether they be women, elders, men, or children, that my friends, that is a beautiful act of love at its finest.

But moreover, living lives that deny violence and suffering a foot hold, and remaining at the ready to be available at every opportunity to prevent it in others, that is when we claim this “Men of Hope” “Father’s of Hope”, by setting an example, living as an example,  and standing up against all domestic violence

And what is truly magnificent about it is that it does not take muscle
it does not take aggression, it does not take us exerting force or our own will. This is what has been granted us as a way of life for the taking. It is a choice that is at the ready each and everyday.

And for me, what is so humbling is to be here, in this moment, in front of my step dad, in front of so many of you, who make that choice..and who live it out. You get that it is about those actions that demonstrate our care for each other, our families, those we work with and particularly those we live with and are the closest too. 

Simply put, it is my honor this morning just to come before you and thank you for being men who are willing to do this very beautiful “simple act of love.”

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