Perhaps it’s the leisurely summer days or recent events in the news, but I’ve found myself thinking a lot about my trip to Norway last summer. My husband and I traveled to his family cabin in the mountains just outside Oslo. My life slowed down, I pumped water for cooking and washing, chopped wood, and learned the way to the outhouse by heart. We explored the lake by canoe, taking breaks to eat chocolate and watch the nesting birds. Evenings found us playing games and reading by lamp light.
Our return to town revealed that Oslo had not been as peaceful as our time at the cabin. A bombing in downtown Oslo and the tragic shootings at the summer camp left everyone stunned and saddened. As we walked through the city we noticed monuments of roses and candles had sprung up at every statue, fountain and government building we passed.
We went about our plans the rest of the week, visiting the new opera house and visiting friends and family, and each day, without planning, we found ourselves at Dom Kirke. We stood silently with the crowd of people who had gathered around the courtyard to morn. The courtyard was filled with candles, pictures, flowers and notes that spilled out into the street. There were notes sharing the best memories of a beloved friend that had died, heartfelt poems, and wishes for healing for those injured.
There was one note that stuck with me though and I clearly remember it to this day.
“If one man can show so much hate, think of how much love the rest of us can show together.”
As I listen to news of shootings at a movie theater and church this last month, I am reminded of this note and remind myself that while sometimes I feel I can’t do much to stop such violence I can spread kindness and love.