By Ernie McCray
In response to what I wrote about how nice I thought it would be if the La Jolla Christmas Parade was named something that was more welcoming for everyone, a woman said “The article was meant to cause some drama, stir up some anxiety and really wasn’t necessary.”
That, I must say, came as news to me as my easy going nature won’t let me anywhere near anxiety. And I definitely was not shooting for drama at all although it would be nice if someone stood up and did a little dance and sang a show tune about a “Parade that Made Everybody Happy.”
But, it was very “necessary” for me to write an appeal to people’s better nature, to the love they hold inside of themselves. Promoting love and understanding is pretty much at the heart of everything I write, everything I do. Now, there’s a reason for it. In fact, making the world a better place is what I’m supposed to do.
I mean I’m a 75 year old, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather. A senior citizen. An Elder. And I don’t think there is a better way to pursue such ideals without love at the core of the undertaking. It’s what old and hopefully wise people are supposed to do based on all we’ve learned in our lifetimes.
In my life I’ve seen what love can do, how it can change the world, how it can stand up to police dogs and fire hoses and church bombings and set a people free. I’ve seen it at homeless shelters and animal shelters. I’ve seen great teachers use it to reach learners. Friends have showered me with it in moments in my life when I was down. Way down. It’s what kept me going as I struggled to get back to normalcy after my wife passed away.
My seeking a more loving world is heightened with the addition of Lyric, my grandson, in my life. He makes feelings of love gush from me like water from an opened fire hydrant in New York City on a sweltering hot summer day. I think it’s necessary for me to wish for and work towards a world where it’s safe for him to run and play and learn the ways of love. What better pastime could there be for me?
The situation in La Jolla particularly interests me in that it has a simple solution, one in which a mere name change can make a lot of people feel better about their community. How often does something worthwhile take such little effort? But if we can’t take care of the easy stuff how do we gather the energy of our love to take on the overwhelming social problems that face us now and will stand in the way of better days down the line for our successors?
In other words if we can’t change a word on a parade sign how are we to lessen violence and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and end the wars? How do we combat poverty and allow the masses a fair share of what the world has to offer? How do we stop the trafficking of girls throughout the world and elevate women to where they are equal to men, protect the environment, correct the gross mistakes that have changed our climate, make civility a national value and priority, so our progeny can keep up the good work?
As I ponder our potential to love each other more deeply, I can’t help but think of a man who showed us how to do just that, unashamedly and unconditionally: Martin Luther King Jr. He once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Just think how life affirming it would be if the La Jolla Christmas Parade people let the light inside themselves, in that place where their loving nature lives, drive out the darkness, the hint of “hate” that lurks in the background of an issue that’s dividing a community which is practically unparalleled when it comes to sheer physical beauty. An act of love, on their part, that results in people living in harmony in this place called the Jewel of the Sea, would be something utterly wonderful for the city of San Diego to see. Inner beauty at work.
Well, who knows how it will all play out but based on what I’ve seen so far and considering my hopes and dreams for Lyric and his generation and generations lying in wait to become, writing about love is necessary. Very necessary.