Behind me sits my very favorite Shakespearen Sonnet — #94. This poem admonishes us to use our power & influence for good. With our physical strength, we can choose to be “they that have power to hurt and will do none.”

My first Shakespeare read was almost a disaster; it was Romeo & Juliet. I still recall my disbelief at the play’s final scene. I couldn’t believe the star-crossed lovers died; they both literally used their strength, their power, to kill themselves.

Why in the heck is this guy famous?!?! — I thought. He’s writing about teenagers falling in love and dying. By their own hands, they hurt their bodies to the point of death because of miscommunication and love-deranged reasoning.

But reading Shakespeare is actually bringing me comfort right now.

He has me thinking about how our lives need to look like the opposite of Romeo & Juliet. We need to be using our power to help, not hurt!

All kinds of things can cloud our reasoning and make us feel “off” as we navigate hot summer months, five months in from when the at-home orders started. Many of us our reaching our boiling points.

Especially during these months when physical and social illness pervade our conversations, it’s NECESSARY we say the good words that need to be said. To our own selves. To our family and friends. To the people in our social and “real” communities.

Today, I hope you get to use your voice, your influence, & your power to advocate for kindness. For compassion.

For love that helps the world see every•body as made in His likeness.