Every shooting gets me mad as HELL…
Each shooting. Each act of violence.
It sits so heavy, deep within my heart.
This is what happens, though.
I remember- and it shakes me to my core.
And then I forget.
I wake up and think about deadlines and bills and dinner.
I add more to my to-do list and three more things to my calendar.
I rush through the minutes, the days, the years.
I yell at my kids when they are running late.
Even though I promised after the last shooting to cherish each moment.
Then I feel bad, really bad.
I sit with my very small world intact and I pray the violence ends before—
Before it comes to my street, my corner, my town.
And then I feel even worse.
Because I know others don’t have this luxury.
And I know I have been praying for the wrong things.
I know wishing and hoping and hiding won’t do.
But this is big. It’s too big for me to try to understand.
I just don’t know what I can do to stop this.
What power do I hold?
Should I share my views on gun control and mental health and who should run our country?
Or will that continue to divide us further?
There are two things in my control: what actions I take to make this world a better place and how I choose to treat my neighbor.
No, not just the neighbors that come for dinner or the ones I also call friends.
I need to love the ones I have judged or looked down at or not offered to lend a hand.
The ones I didn’t smile at or take the time to meet or held a grudge when their views were different than my own. I need to stop confusing talk with action, or that ranting is “doing my part.” I need to spend less time convincing others that my views of the world are correct and spend more time on creating a better world.
I want to show my children how to love others with a fierceness they have never known.
I want to give until my heart is so full of love that it spills out on to others.
I want to find all the goodness and hope and love and spread it so thick that this is all we can see.
I want to show up consistently at a place to give my time and my heart to others, whether that is my place of worship, my community, a volunteer organization, the voting booth or another place that softens my edges and gives me a way to take my hurt and anger and frustration and make it into something good.
It is time I cleaned up my side of the street.
It is time to give of my whole heart and not expect anything in return.
Nothing. But I will be able to say I have done something.
It is time to let go of being afraid and to commit each day to something larger than myself.
Don’t overcomplicate this. Start with a smile, a kind word, a nice gesture.
Let it begin with me.
This is what I will pray for. This is what I will work towards.
Let peace start with me. xoxo