Throw Your Arms Around the World

Today I sat next to my friend as she told me how discouraged she was.  She is in school and taking care of her family and other people, and she’s doing an amazing job at all of that–I have no idea how.  She’s just that determined and amazing.

As she is so busy her time on Facebook and other social media is limited, but today she told me that when she has had a break to “hop on,” her heart has been heavy and troubled.   So much going on in the world that suits the mood of this dark time of year.  Darkness.  Death.  Violence.  Protests. Anger.  Hatred.  Murder.  Brokenness.

I could see it in her eyes that she is exhausted.  This is really where so many of us live, isn’t it?  Exhausted before we can even begin to think of what we can do to change things.  Worn out from taking it all in–never mind trying to make anything better.

I just wanted to hug her and tell her it’s all going to be okay.

But I need someone to do that for me first.

So we sat and drank our coffee and talked about other things.

Though our minds never left the troubles.

Not really.

I found a new “old” treasure a few days ago.  It’s an old globe on a stand.  Because I don’t have the floor space, I want to put it up on a cabinet, so I need it to be shortened.  I found it and decided to bring it home because I have seen some really beautiful displays of great words to think upon inscribed on old globes.  I didn’t know what words I would write on the globe or if I’d have the nerve to do it at all, but still, home it came.

Or rather, it rode around in the vehicle until I had the time and nerve to bother my Uncle and ask if he would be willing to cut off the legs.  I was over in his garden this evening, partaking of his delicious cabbage–I’m not sure what he’s putting in the soil, but suffice to say I cooked some last week and I’m back for more already!  Before I left I asked him if he would be willing to help me, and he kindly agreed.  He sent the globe home with me, and when I brought her inside I asked the Fella to examine her a little more thoroughly.  She’s a little faded.  Old but not precious old.  So I won’t feel quite so bad writing over an ocean.  Good.

Because on the way home I figured out what words I’d write on her when the time comes to do so.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid (the original 1984 version) played on the radio tonight.  Words were leaping from my ears to my mind and then to my heart.  Yes.

“We let in light and we banish shade…..”

Yes.  Light.  Banish what hovers over us creating doubt and fear and darkness.

And then–the perfect ones for my globe–

“Throw your arms around the world…..”

Yes.  You know those hugs–the ones that when the arms envelop you, they help ease a lot of pain.  And heartache.  If only for a moment.


Another song played shortly after that.  One that I don’t hear very often at all.  “Belleau Wood,” written by Garth Brooks and Joe Henry, tells the story of a truce at Christmas in World War I.  The line that touched my heart and had tears rolling silently down my face were–

“And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here’s hoping we both live
To see us find a better way”

The song ends with the storyteller saying just this, something I believe with my whole heart–

“But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s just beyond the fear

No, heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s for us to find it here…..”


I wish I’d had all of these words with me when I sat next to my friend today.

All of the brokenness?  The anger?  The fighting and choosing sides and battling against each other–on Facebook, in letters to editors, in phone calls, text messages, in person…..? The pointing fingers and claiming innocence and pain and loss?  The pictures of everything from abandoned animals to tortured human beings?

It’s all too much.

I don’t know how to fix it.

Shoot, I didn’t even know how to reach out and hug my friend when she most needed it today.

But what I do know is that we can try.

When there is darkness,

throw our arms around the world.


When we see violence and hatred,

throw our arms around the world.


When folks are angry and can’t see light for all the pain and betrayal,

we can throw our arms around this world.

And love.



And here’s the thing–


We have to move beyond the fear.

Of others.

Of those who are different.

Of ones who believe differently, talk differently, speak differently.

We have to move beyond the fear.

It’s imperative.

There are no guarantees.  When we go to love somebody, it might not fix much.  It might not fix anything.  But if we keep trying, here’s hoping we will live to find a better way.  And to see a better day.

For all of the hell that this life is filled with, it is up to us to find and share the Heaven that love and patience and kindness and listening can bring.  Right.  Here.

Tonight I give thanks for good cabbage and old globes, for old songs and for Garth Brooks’ storytelling.   I’m thankful for those whom I get to sit by, sharing stories and worries and joys and sorrows.  I am thankful for them sharing the journey and sharing light when I need it most.  For when there is light, the shade of troubles seems to dissipate a little more…..

Go throw your arms around the world and bring Heaven right here.  Banish shade.  Share light.

It can start with two people.  You.

And the person sitting next to you.

Go say hello.

And then listen.

It’s a start.

Love to all.




4 thoughts on “Throw Your Arms Around the World”

  1. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the big problems in the world, I focus on all the small things that I can more easily control, like having a cup of coffee and sharing stories with a friend who can use them. We can’t fix all the things, but at least we can do that. Sounds like you’re doing just fine. Hang in there. And hugs to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s