Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, The Christophers
A TV Angel’s Blessings
In my previous column, I wrote about my interview with actress (“Touched By An Angel”) and
producer (“The Bible” mini-series) Roma Downey about her new memoir “Box of Butterflies:
Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us.” Over the course of a life devoted to God,
Roma has developed habits that help her appreciate her blessings and share them with others.
Consider this ritual Roma shared: “I know this might sound really simple, but sometimes it’s the simple that can be the most helpful. Every time I wash my hands, I remember to say, ‘Thank You, God. Thank You for my blessings,’ as the water hits my hands from the faucet.” The stresses of an ordinary day can take her out of that sense of gratitude, but it returns with the next handwashing. That habit, she said, “has made such a difference in my life.”
Another powerful tool Roma is using to spread God’s light is the website Lightworkers.com. She said, “We are a digital company creating video and editorial content celebrating the good in our world...One of my favorite quotes, Tony, is that it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. I know you know that one. That’s our mantra at Light Workers …We can’t be overwhelmed by the enormity of heartache. We have to do something. And people have been loving it…because I think people respond to story. I’m not a preacher, and my intention is not to preach. My intention is, through story, to see how people’s lives can be changed with grace.”
With the release of “Box of Butterflies,” Roma hopes that her stories and reflections make a difference to readers. Having grown up in Ireland during a time of division between Catholics and Protestants, she hopes to serve as an instrument of peace during this time of division in the U.S. So how did she escape becoming swept up in the hate she witnessed during her youth?
She said, “My father was an extraordinary man, and he always emphasized the need to treat people the way you would want to be treated, with love and respect, and to have tolerance. Even though we may have had different opinions in our community, that clearly violence and hatred wasn’t the answer. I grew up in a terribly segregated time in the city of Derry. Protestants called it Londonderry, and Catholics called it Derry. Over the course of the height of the violence there, Protestant people moved to one side of the river, and we Catholics lived on the other. Never the twain did meet…I probably was into my middle teens before I knowingly hung out with a Protestant.”
As time passed, life and attitudes began to change, and therein is a lesson from which all Americans can learn. Roma said, “It’s with great pride and gratitude that when I visit Derry, you see a community that has healed and managed to reach out across that river to each other. Now, there’s a walking bridge, which is aptly called the peace bridge, and there’s a natural flow of the community from one side to the other. I’m all about trying to build bridges where we can and how we can, because I have seen firsthand how that can drive society apart. It’s a fragmented time that we’re living in. There seems to be so much hurt and fear and suspicion. We hope and pray that people will start recognizing that we all belong to each other.”
For free copies of the Christopher News Note WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET ME SOW LOVE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org