Living well does not just mean taking care of our physical body. It also means looking after our spirit by nurturing the people and things and ideas we love. For me, that’s music. I was fortunate enough to catch the amazing Lucius (one of my favorite bands) at a local venue last night. In addition to playing a killer show, the group took time out of their set to say a few words about the events that took place in Orlando earlier this week. They shared their condolences and begged the audience to keep talking about these atrocities. They urged us to support ANY AND ALL efforts to stop the spread of hate and bigotry. This was received with both cheers and tears; a collective raising of hope.
In a time where we can never be sure of anything, I think we can all be sure that aggressive intolerance is not only baseless but also divisive. Anger and resentment towards the differences of others is like being mad at the weather. Reflecting on our pain and frustration may be dwelling in the past, but it is our only path forward. Remembering how these terrible crimes affect us and the world we live in is the path to change. This is not a time to forgive and forget. This is a time for us to get up, stand up, and do something positive. In the face of a ghastly tragedy like this one, it can be difficult to see any positive outcome, but try. I promise it will be better if you do.
I have to admit when the news first broke of yet another mass shooting, I was in denial. I did not want to hear about it. I didn’t want to get angry or sad or experience the heavy emotions of this tragic pointless loss of life. It seems so unreal. There is no acceptable answer for why this happened just as there is no sure-fire way to stop it from happening again. But that doesn’t mean we should not try. We have to believe a solution is possible, we have to want change more than we fear this cruel intolerance. It will be tough to find the motivation, but we should try. It’s better if we do.
We have to learn to trust each other and that starts with love and respect. I respect you even though I don’t know you. I appreciate all the experiences that have made you and look forward to knowing you better. You are imperfectly perfect as you are right now in this moment and I love you for that. I want you to know that I cherish you. I love you before I’ve even met you because we are alike. We deserve to find love in each other, we are connected. It may seem hard to believe, with me here and you there, but try. It’s better if you do.
We asked for your prayers earlier this week, but now we ask for your action. We want you to join us in spreading a message of love and acceptance. Help us commemorate these events in a positive way. Hug someone, call someone, buy someone a coffee, ask someone how their day was, just engage with someone. Help them with a project, help them with their homework, just be helpful. By caring randomly for another, even in a small way, we are sharing the love. You may not get a favor in return or even a thank you, bur you should try. Its better if you do.
While I don’t believe in unconditional love, I do believe in unconditional tenderness. After all, everyone is somebody’s child. It may be hard to believe that an evil killer once had a loving mother, but we should try. It will be better if we do.
Let’s work to make the tragedy in Orlando the straw that broke the camels back. Let’s take the high road and discourage hateful rhetoric. Let’s react with compassion before anger. Let’s remember to treat others just as we hope to be treated. By paying it forward and giving our neighbors the benefit of the doubt we are taking tiny but deliberate steps toward making love the golden rule. Let’s kill hate with kindness. It wont be easy and can’t be solved with clever hash tags or a cute t-shirt, but still we should try. Trying to find, feel, and reflect love every day regardless of the outcome will test each of us, but it’s worth it. It may seem ridiculous to think that love can stop a bullet, but I think we should try. I think it’s better if we do.
Here at HebrewDawn we want everyone to feel welcome. We want you to be yourself to your fullest expression in this safe cyber space. We want to hear your thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams. We want to be there for you and rely on your support as well. Thank you for being you. We love you and wish you well.