I was reading about a mass shooting and realized it wasn’t the one I thought just happened because another one, completely unrelated, had happened just a few hours later. And it made me angry. Anger, though, is almost always either fear or sadness. In this case, I believe it is equal measures of both. As a community, a country, a world, we need to take another look at what we’re doing individually and collectively to allow this to happen.
For those who react with “Thoughts and Prayers,” keep doing that. Keep thinking of ways to be the change that reminds us we’re all children of God who deserve compassion, love, and safety regardless of which side of the issue or the gun you stand on. And pray to your God, the God, a God for healing and understanding. We need that within ourselves and throughout our broken world. Then stretch out of your comfort zone and join the “We Have to Do Something” folks.
We definitely do have to do something, but I don’t think it’s a one-off. If you want to point fingers, then spread your hands out wide and point them all: mental health, gun access, disenfranchisement of our youth, hate, fear, blame. But if you stop now and look, your hands are open and outstretched. Keep them there. Let your arms and heart and mind follow.
Maybe you feel like you can’t change the world – maybe you can’t. But you can change yourself. Channel your fear and sadness away from hate and blame and use it as motivation to do something positive. Volunteer in your community so there are safe, constructive places for kids to go besides inside a computer screen. Meet your neighbors and keep a finger on how they’re doing. Do they need support? Can you be it or help them find it? Do you need support? Can you find it? It really is there if you reach out!
Get involved with your local government and offer your voice where it can be heard and actually make an impact. Railing on social media won’t change anything, but railing in a city council meeting might! If it doesn’t, then get off your computer and get on city council!
Rudyard Kipling said, “Keep your head when those around you are losing theirs.” It’s advice for our time. We can turn this around.