On the heels of one of the worst displays of hatred I’ve ever seen in my brief lifetime, I struggle to think about anything else. And at the risk of sounding trite, my words are just that.
My confusion, my sorrow, my hurt, and my disbelief pale in comparison to what the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and families are feeling right now of those who perished in Orlando.
Even those who witnessed and those who fought for the wounded are left with unbelievable scars. Their wounds will forever leave a mark.
But this tragedy has marked us all.
San Bernardino. Oregon’s Umpqua Community College. A recruiting center in Chattanooga. Charleston Emanuel AME Church. Kansas Jewish Community Center. Ft. Hood. Washington Navy Yard. Sandy Hook. Wisconsin Sikh Temple. The Auorora movie theater.
Do you remember those? Admittedly I don’t.
Are we immune? The hurt, the pain, the anger, the shock. Does it last?
For the families and the communities it sure does. But what about for you and me?
As I write this my flesh crawls with so much angst that I want to jump out of my skin and run to Orlando to throw my arms over the hurting, over anybody that will take me. If only to let the community know that they are not alone and they are loved.
I want them to feel the depth and breadth of love. Not hate.
When the reporters leave, the roar of outrage settles, and nothing but broken hearts are left behind, life moves on and so do we.
Life continues. But how?
I ask myself and I ask you too, how can we just ‘go on’? What did I do after Sandy Hook or after Charleston? Nothing is what I did.
Did I make a phone call, did I step up, did I do anything but comment and say my thoughts and prayers are with you? Did I even pray? Did I do anything more than post a graphic with words on my Facebook page?
As I think these thoughts and say them to you, it stings, deeply.
This is our cross to bear.
Is it heavy?
You bet it is.
It means being uncomfortable, stepping out, doing things differently, and taking risks to love.
But I can no longer stand by silently. And neither can you. Each one of us has to take action.
This is not a pro- or no- post of any kind, politically one way or another, this is a plea.
A plea to you and to me. To do something. Anything. Whatever moves you, do it.
Instead of doing nothing, LIVE. Keep going. Keep living and loving. And do it loudly.
Our capacity to love has to increase so that hatred decreases.
We can no longer hide, sit silently in our little worlds, and act as bystanders to love. It’s time to get moving. It’s time we take a stand to love instead of standing by.
We have to support each other; whether you live like me, believe like me, think like me or look like me. Because death is death and life is life.
It’s a critical choice to make. So decide what’s right for you and how you want to do things differently.
We simply can’t afford to do nothing. To let the next tragedy come around and be right where we are now. Unchanged.
What really scares me the most is that we won’t allow this tragedy to change us at all and that it’ll go unused. We’ll snap right back into the way life was before June 12th.
Let’s allow the worst tragedy in American history to change how we love, that we do more to show love. To hug instead of judge, to run toward instead of away, to say you are loved instead of nothing at all.
Please. Let us not move on and stay unchanged, the way we were before Orlando.