Reflecting.

Hate. Tragedy. Loss.

I am grief stricken, and honestly I don’t believe I have a unique perspective to offer. I do, though, have reflecting to do.

This weekend, the city of Pittsburgh underwent attack when an armed man entered Tree of Life Synagogue in the midst of a service, and opened fire. He killed 11 people, but you already know that.

I didn’t know any of the people who lost their lives. I don’t go to any regularly scheduled religious services, and I am not Jewish.

However, I am a proud member of the Pittsburgh community, as well as the child of an Episcopal priest. My father is a man of God who gathers people together in his sanctuary to offer healing, hope, and humanity to the members of his congregation. This violence could just as easily have been in his place of worship, or yours. It was, instead, just a few blocks from my office at the University of Pittsburgh.

The violence we witnessed is not based in reason, and therefore it is impossible to find reason within it. What we can do is overcome it together, by connecting with one another and being stronger in our faith than we were before.

I seek to create light amidst the darkness. Usually, the darkness I refer to is the the loneliness of a depressive episode, the ongoing battle with mental illness. Today, we all stand together in this darkness, and tonight I will light eleven candles on my little alter. Eleven souls were taken from Pittsburgh this weekend, and they will be our beacons of light as we continue onward in pursuit of wholeness, empathy, and humanity.

I invite you to light candles with me, to write notes to your neighbors, to find small bits of kindness to spread today. I invite you to be stronger than the hate that seeks to defeat us. I invite you to be more than a worrier, but to be a warrior.

Peace,

Emily

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