Stunned. Again. Senseless killing. Again.
It’s hard to process the mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub on Sunday, June 12. More than one hundred people shot, fifty killed. So much destruction. So much sorrow and grief. So much anger and disappointment.
So much blind hatred that finds expression in devastation. It touches us all, regardless of any personal beliefs. This is our country, our home, our loved ones, and our way of life – all precious to us. photo credit Paul Tomlin
Emotions overwhelm me as the story is recounted. A young man who at one moment was talking and dancing with friends and in the next watching them fall, bloody, wounded, lifeless. Parents still waiting to learn if their child is alive. Survivors and their families elated that they are alive, but also devastated that others did not. I wonder at how people survive an ordeal of such great magnitude that it won’t stop replaying in their head, with all the horror still fresh. When it seems as though the world has stopped turning, how do we go on with our normal lives knowing that for so many there is bottomless sorrow, and that the senseless death will probably strike again? Things are so complex and there are no simple solutions.
I think the answers to those questions are varied. But in general, I’ve answered them for myself by grounding myself in the power of love yet acknowledging the pain and the joy; the suffering and the support. We can be tender and raw with emotions and still go on. I think we must go on with our lives, but we can do so living with more awareness and with more attention to doing what needs to be done in our own lives. I can be tenderhearted with my words and chose to speak with consciousness. If I have a project to complete, I can work at it with recognition that I have an opportunity to do so. If I go to lunch with a friend, I can be really present for that person. When I sweep my kitchen floor, I can appreciate that I have a home. Awareness of the tragedies in life can bring up close the pleasure of a cup of our favorite coffee, available to us so easily. And maybe if we have to stand in line for a bit to get it, awareness of the suffering other people endure can temper our impatience. Maybe we can smile at the server and offer a sincere thank you, knowing that in other places here and around the world, there is deep sorrow and despair.
We can’t fix the world or rescue everyone. But we can do what we do and do it with heart. By living with attention and awareness, we make the world a better place, I believe, and fuel love, not hatred.