Sunday morning, around 2:00 AM, the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place. 49 people were killed in an Orlando night club, a gay night club. It is horrible, the violence we are all subject to, the realities of the world we live in.
What’s been remarkably difficult, is the amount of turmoil this incident has caused on the internet. Everyone has an opinion about how this should impact policies on gun control and mental illness, but I just keep coming back to love and hate. Kids today, and in some ways that includes me, don’t know a world without terrorism and hate. September 11, 2001 happened when I was in the 4th grade, and the hate has been palpable since. Is it too cliche to say that nothing has been the same since, because it certainly hasn’t been.
I’m a big advocate for more aid to the mentally ill, and more compassion too. I’m a believer in the right to bare arms, but I understand that weapons today look very different than they did when our forefathers wrote the language to give us these rights. Policy is policy, and it will change or it won’t, but I can’t help but wonder what an infusion of love would look like for our country right now. What if every day each of us woke up with a mission to love one another and ourselves more ferociously, instead of casting hate and blame across the aisle? What if we let the car in front of us go first, let the man at Starbucks go ahead of us, paid for the car behind us at the toll booth? What if we competed with not who could DO the best, but who could LOVE the best?
I know this will never be the mindset of our population day in and day out, but it’s my goal to perpetuate as much love and compassion in my life as I possibly can.
Talking to a friend recently, I asked if her and her boyfriend of 6 years would be getting engaged soon. She explained she had big plans to finish her residency program and let him finish grad school before they would get engaged.
“Probably like NEXT Christmas,” she said, “because then I don’t have to worry about being in school while I plan a wedding and he can settle into his job and potentially we could buy a house before we get married which would make it a lot easier to transition and start to think about building a family, but I do want to be somewhere where there are good schools.”
As she continued on about their plans, it occurred to me how much planning they’d done, and how little excitement was in her voice. It made me sad to think that in this fleeting world where we control so little, my friend was holding so tightly to the things she felt control over. My advise to her was this, “Love now, don’t wait until the time seems right.”
There’s never enough money for a wedding or a baby or a house, until we need there to be. We sacrifice what is luxurious for what feels absolutely necessary, and first and foremost in my life, love is necessary.
To all the beautiful souls in my life, the amazing people who have touched my heart and impacted my journey – I love you each and every day. If ever there is a day when you need to feel the warmth and tenderness of friendship, I’ll be here to spread the love any time.