Our nation has fallen prey to countless and horrific tragedies in recent days and weeks that have left many of us feeling helpless, afraid and asking a question that seems to have no answer; WHY? It is impossible to turn on the news, scroll through social media or read a paper without a steady and heartbreaking stream of tragedy and violence. In recent days I have read countless articles and posts that are immersed in a sea of blame and hate and while I have NO answers to this crazy tangled web of senseless loss and violence that has become a daily part of our lives, I do know that hate only perpetuates and fuels the angry fires that are burning out of control in so many hearts and souls.
People are hurting. People are grieving. People are afraid. People are struggling to find hope. Our hearts are heavy and as I too struggle to make sense of these recent, tragic events, I cannot fathom the anger, pain and grief that Philando Castile’s or Alton Sterling’s families are struggling with in the wake of their deaths. I cannot begin to comprehend the heartbreak and suffering that the families of the five fallen police officers must face following the attacks in Dallas. And…what about the senseless death of a 2 year old that was shot and killed when caught in an apparent drive-by shooting in North Minneapolis? Where is the mass outrage, anger and hate in and around that? She was a baby; an innocent child with her entire life ahead of her… All of it makes me so incredibly sad and angry and yes, I too am afraid. I am afraid for our country. I am afraid for my friends and family. I am afraid for our children and for the future that they must survive in, live in and somehow try to keep fixing what is so broken.
While I do not have answers and as I struggle to understand so much of what has gone so terribly wrong I do know what matters. It ALL matters. Black lives DO matter. The men who were shot and died this past week; their lives mattered. Police lives DO matter. That little 2 year old’s life mattered. HER LIFE MATTERED. IT ALL MATTERS. HUMAN BEINGS LIVES MATTER. Yes, there are bad people out there and bad can stem out of any race and any profession including police officers, but it is so important to remember that it does no good to judge everyone based on the actions of a few.
It is so easy when drowning in fear, anger and grief to point fingers and to blame. As humans we need answers when seemingly senseless tragedy strikes. We are easily reminded just how vulnerable we are and we are left raw and frightened forced to face the reality that it could be our father, mother, brother, sister or god forbid our daughters or sons. It could be our friends, our neighbors or our co-workers. Yet as we recognize those vulnerabilities and that we as humans are not invincible, people are easily brought to a very dangerous place; a ugly place that is cloaked in darkness. Instead of feeling compassion, empathy and love for one another, people are quick to judge fueled by anger and blame. The result? More violence and hate. Where does this vicious and destructive cycle end?
It is impossible to know what another is going through without first walking in their shoes. That is a fact. It is impossible to know exactly what happens in what can be a moment in time or to truly know both sides of any story without being there. I don’t know what happened in any of these situations. I was not there. What I do know is that despite my fear and yes anger at so much of what has gone on in recent days and weeks, I have to still live my life and keep walking this journey. I can choose hate or I can choose love. I can choose to be angry and judge others or I can choose to be compassionate, seek to understand and most importantly be kind. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Amen to that.
Our country is a mess. No one can argue that point. There are no easy answers and I believe we are all living in fear of what might happen next. One person cannot fix things and we as a nation have a very long road ahead but together, arm in arm and standing united we can work together to make a difference. Each one of us CAN make a difference. We continue to hear that black lives matter, all lives matter, policeman’s lives matter and they do. It ALL matters. KINDNESS MATTERS. LOVE MATTERS. Be kind to one another. Love one another. Focus on the amazing stories that are surfacing in the wake of all of this tragedy of people of all races coming together. Focus on the fact that there are ALOT of really good people out there trying to make a difference and coming forward with love and kindness wanting to help. Remember that there are a lot of amazing policeman out there that put there lives on the line every single day to keep you and I safe.
My heart goes out to the friends and families of those that lost their lives in the past few days. Prayers to the victims. Prayers to those that loved them. Prayers for our country. Prayers for this world. Prayers that we can remember that we ALL matter.