Shaking Hands


You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.~ Indira Gandhi

When I was a child witnessing wars on TV, my heart would break and I’d burst into tears.

My parents would assure me that as I got older, I would be less affected by world events; I would be too busy with the events in my own life.

For the most part, this has come to pass.

Yet news of the goings on in the Middle East and planes being shot down still reduces me to tears and I stretch out my hands toward the TV; I pray for those who have lost loved ones.

I do not know how I would act if someone’s actions killed my child.

I do not know if I would hold out an olive branch of peace.

I cannot possibly understand the Whys that cause us to do the things we do.

But I do believe that all life is sacred; my heart grieves at the loss of human life.

Perhaps I can’t affect peace on a grand scale…

but I can do so within my own circle of influence and there is much work to do.


53 thoughts on “Shaking Hands

  1. I love your open heart and generous soul Diana. With menopause it is blooming eh … :)
    No only do your heart felt messagesripple out, but you are actively impacting the lives of others.
    I love Karen’s words – “creating seeds of love and peace just where we are.”
    Val xo


  2. Its true Diana, each one of us can make a difference to each other, amongst the pain and sadness in the world, each of us can create seeds of love and peace just where we are.



  3. Diana events as horrific as the plane incident recently had me thinking how short life can be. Treasure those around me as always and pray for those left behind in such a senseless waste of life. I will never understand that kind of action. All human life is precious.


  4. Thank you for sharing this Diana. I know these things get in to my soul as well. You are so right it does ultimately stop and begin with us. The story of those soldiers is such a good one.


  5. Diana,
    Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “An officer was training ten men to hate, as a training exercise as soldiers. After the intense training was complete, he stood them in a line shoulder to shoulder. Then he commanded the first to turn and strike the soldier next to him. He obeyed and stuck his fellow soldier hard on the cheek, Then down the line the command went out.
    When it was the sixth soldier’s turn-he would not obey the order to strick his fellow soldier. And that is when the hatred stops.

    So Diana, you may think it a small exercise to stay the hand of hatred, simply among your circle. But, that is how the hearts of men and women are changed. One at a time.



  6. “I cannot possibly understand the Whys that cause us to do the things we do.”

    I think one of the keys may lie in changing that. Literature has quite a few stories about enemies forced to live or work together to accomplish a common goal they see as more important than their squabble. In doing so they learn they aren’t so different and they find common ground.

    Several science fiction authors have stories in which an alien threat brings the world together, finally united in order to protect humankind. There is some hope that a non-fictional threat — such as global warming — might unite us, but so far there are only glimmerings.

    Short of alien invasion, I really think the only hope we have is through education. When we live in bubbles of ignorance, bad things happen. But there are so many ways in which a good education provides understanding (which leads to compassion) and replaces fear, rage and hate.

    Just looking at pictures of the Earth from space — seeing the lack of political lines upon its surface — can be a profound experience. One world, one people… but we need to be educated about what that means and how it works.


      • Indeed. They differ in that love comes from within, whereas education must come from without. They are similar in that both can (and must) be fostered.

        And there is sometime to consider about the love. It’s a coin with an ugly flip side: hate. The same emotional mechanisms behind love are also involved in the hatred that’s tearing apart the Middle East. Positive emotions are powerful and useful (and wonderful) things, but they come with an important downside we need to watch out for.


      • Sure, almost anything can be applied for good or evil. Even love can be used for bad purposes, which — I suppose — means that even hate can be used for good purposes? Yikes!

        I would like to draw a line between knowledge and education. They aren’t the same thing to me. The former is about knowing stuff, the latter is about how to think. I don’t believe knowing stuff is as important as learning how to think clearly and rationally. When I talk about the importance of education, that’s what I’m talking about. An education is what unlocks all the doors to knowledge.


  7. Interesting concept, my friend. In some ways, I believe your parents were correct. In the manner of immediately moving me to tears, the TV clips of death and wars may affect me less on that base level of emotions. But in a deeper sense of acknowledgement of ramification and consequences, I think they affect me more now. Thank you for making me think on this Sunday, Diana.


    • Thanks for sharing your heart on this Mark. And I agree. As our understanding grows, we become more aware of the ramifications and consequences.

      In my most vulnerable moments, that base level of emotion remains with me as well. But you know what? I’m ok with that, I’m ok with visibly grieving, because I would rather feel than be numb and void of emotion. Which by the way, has always been one of my greatest fears; that I might cease to care.

      Diana xo


      • I agree with you, Diana. Numb is no good. I can’t see myself ever ceasing to care. It just manifests differently now. My tears come for more personal issues, it seems.


      • I can’t see you ever ceasing to care either Mark. I’m thinking menopause has made me more demonstrative with emotions again. If you ask folks about my emotions in my 20s and 30s, some would say I was intellectual, cold, detached and non expressive. It’s not that I didn’t care, I’ve always cared – I just didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve back then. :)


      • Now that’s an interesting thought Mark! I’ve often thought that the way I think and feel about things hasn’t changed much since my late teen years. My behaviours and how I represent myself on the other hand… that has changed!


  8. Humanity has always had a dark side and that barbaric behavior will unlikely change.

    I firmly believe, in the longer-term, light will outshine darkness. And in our present, good trumps evil, even if we can’t see the scorecard.

    When we allow dark acts to drag us into an abyss, the perpetrators win. Personally, it ain’t going to happen with me.


  9. Having had two of our own Viscounts shot down by terrorists and loosing friends on both planes, I can assure you the thought of offering an olive branch is the furthest from your mind…. revenge in the worst way fills your mind and causes ugliness that one does not want to impart…. I feel for those affected by the shot down plane (at least the world condemned this one)…. yet i feel remorse that the rest of the world remained silent to our two downings….
    I know you commented on my posts about this fact…. but to be honest this type of cowardly thing cannot be seen as war or any part of it as war.. this is purely an attack on the innocent and the perps should be caught, publicly slashed and I can see the old world hang, drawn and quartered being far to easy a death for them…..


    • I can certainly understand where you are coming from bulldog. And as I said, I don’t know how I would act or feel if someone hurt my child.

      I guess I wonder who will end this? How do people stop the hatred and pain? When do we say enough is enough?


      • That is something that has been asked from times beginning… who will stop it? no one… something I loved when I read it the other day… when we all learn to love our children, and each others … then… and only then will we stop the wars,……


      • True. I think various lands have done so in the past, and many individuals have in the personal lives, but it is definitely not the norm or practiced on a global scale…


  10. I second what everybody else has said, Diana.
    You do make a difference.
    I believe the small actions we take create ripples we are not even aware of. Thank you for your helpful words and actions, here.
    xo Ann


  11. I remember crying when they would show the starving children in Africa. I often think that those children would now be 50 years old. I wonder if they are still alive. And now there are more children starving. and I am still watching them on TV and not doing anything.
    You have heightened my awareness Diana! :)


    • Your comment reminds me of the following quote:

      “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” -Helen Keller

      I love your beautiful heart Elizabeth. <3

      Diana xo


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