Overpowering Domestic Violence ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

A jealous spouse, a rebellious child, an impatient parent, can erupt into an out-of-control monster and wreak havoc on a family, even a community. Too many lives are lost and homes disrupted by domestic violence.

Violent anger is not beyond control or prevention. Divine Love can overpower it. The human expression of Love's power is what can prevent a perpetrator from acting out vicious thoughts, protect innocent bystanders, and promote safety in communities.

I discovered something of this power several years ago at the poultry-packing plant where I worked. As plant employees spilled out of the doors at the end of the day, one man was yelling furiously at a woman. He was bodily dragging her down the street. She managed to pull herself toward the entrance to my office. As I came face to face with this man and urged him to let the woman go, he turned on me with such rage that I froze with fear. He yanked her away. Hundreds of us just stood there dazed by the scene.

Although I felt terror from the top of my head to the tip of my toes, I realized that if someone didn't stop him, he might seriously injure or even kill this woman (who was his wife).

Suddenly I felt impelled by a power beyond myself - way beyond the fear I was feeling - to follow them. At first, I could hardly believe I was walking down that street! But I quickly became aware that something quite unlike physical force, something greater than personal initiative or bravery, was propelling me. It was a power and authority that was equally tender and caring. It was shielding and protecting me.

Walking slowly toward them, I spoke gently. As I came near, the man quieted, put his wife down, and let her rest against a parked car. I said I didn't want to interfere but only wanted him to release his wife and talk with her.

And that's exactly what he did. He agreed not to harm her and I walked away. The crowd dispersed and everyone went calmly home. Both the uncontrolled rage he had exhibited a few moments before and the terror I had felt dissipated. (Incidentally, although this couple got divorced, I sometimes saw them in the cafeteria, apparently enjoying each other's company. …