I’ve exchange thoughts with some, but mostly I have been silent. No words. It is hard to expect mere words to encompass the seething range of emotions and thoughts that events in Orlando have wrought.
“I am so angry” — too simple.
“I am so sad” — wrong. Something deeper than sadness; despair?
I have wandered cautiously through the words from others the Internet is regurgitating forth about what happened in Orlando, what it all means. A few thoughts have enlighten me. Many have outraged me. People are insightful and people are ignorant– labels applied from my own perspective. And the lunacy is that there are people who think the ignorant words are insightful and that the insightful words are ignorant. Exhausting.
Here is what I want to be true: Love and goodness win, in the end. Love wins. Hatred is a toxic driver. I don’t care if it’s coming from your religion, your culture, your family, your peers, or your own inner voice of judgment. If it’s telling you to hate, you’re listening to the wrong voice. You are. And you have to care about that, what you are listening to.
A great part of my own inner despair about this — and by this I mean both the singularly focused gunning down of singer, Christina Grimmie while signing autographs after her concert in Orlando, and then the horrific slaughter at the Pulse — is that our government will not listen to the rippling tide of mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and people who, dammit it, just don’t want to be shot by others. There will be no change. It will still be mind-bogglingly easy for angry young men to buy assault rifles and amass weapons and ammunition, easier than it is for a woman to make a decision about her own body. That gun-minded people will still insist that their “right” to unfettered gun ownership is worth the bloodshed of others. That guns don’t kill people, people do and a madman will always find a way to kill innocent people, after all, Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer. The problem isn’t guns, the problem is….fill in the blank.
Yeah, well how about we start with guns. How about we start with our gun culture. How about we start with our tolerance for anger and violence in men, expressing itself — usually — first in the home against women and children and manifesting itself in narcissistic retribution against others who are “other”. We cannot shrug our collective shoulders. This must matter.
We all contribute to the tide of sentiment about the issues and events that polarize us, but many of us are silent. I am. I hide under the radar. Who needs to hear my voice? Or, more precisely, I am uncomfortable in using it. I am uncomfortable daring to being heard when what I have to express is against the current of what surrounds me. Mostly, I am afraid of hate and violence and disregard for life in all its forms. Very. Afraid. So, I retreat to my kinship with animals and stretch my arms wide around them, hoping to forever hold them safe against the ravages of this world. We are love and safety and kindness here, one little speck in the vast Universe. That is the space I hold.
I think love works that way though; that there are many, many specks of love and caring and nurturing and they weave together to create a strong fabric even in the face of events that threaten to rip us apart. Maybe not loud, the way that hate can be, but nevertheless powerful and impactful and resilient. I may not know who you are, but you are living moments of love and kindness right now, and that contributes. I contribute. We contribute to a great flow of love and kindness and when those who are in a position to act, rise up and act for the betterment of all, they will tap into the strength of what we have built and find in themselves a mighty sense of support to do the things that will change the world, to shift it ever so closer to love.