I’m not writing to discuss or debate the details of the mass shooting in Orlando, FL, that took place this past Sunday. The who, the why and the how are all topics sure to be run through with much intensity and investigation in the coming weeks and months. The various issues surrounding this terrible act of terror are hot buttons to which many have differing points of view and opinions on, myself included. But that’s not what I want to talk about. My heart is heavy. I didn’t know any of these people and yet I find myself crying for them, thinking about them and praying for their families. My heart is heavy. As a new mom I can’t help but wonder, what kind of world did I willingly bring my son into? Will he grow up with such hate and divisiveness? Will this be his normal?
I have a million questions and no answers. It’s a frightening and disheartening time.
While there are always moments of light and love that come out of the darkest of times, I find myself seeing less and less of that which brings me to the reason I was compelled to write today.
Scanning social media yesterday and today, I saw a lot of rage, and understandably so, events like these tend to wreck havoc on our hearts and minds, we all grieve and process differently, but what troubles me is how quickly we are to start fighting with one another when we should be lifting each other up.
I read multiple posts where people were expressing anger over those who upon hearing of this latest tragedy, offered their “thoughts and prayers” to all those involved. Some said it was not enough, especially from our political players, others claimed it to be a selfish statement and on and on the down the rabbit hole it went.
So my latest question is: When did compassion become offensive?
When I offer my thoughts and prayers, it is not for selfish reasons and I know that I am not offering a whole lot of comfort to a person who will probably never read my statement, but I do so anyway. I do it because my heart tells me to. I do it because I believe in prayer, more so I believe in the power of positivity and love. I do it because I hope that somehow, some way, the people I am directing this love to will feel it and know they don’t walk alone.
In times like these, us strangers, that’s all we have to offer.
Is it enough? No, but it’s a start.
All the rest of it, the political and religious implications, laws that should or should not be enforced – that all will come, and in full force, but there’s a time and place for it and mere hours after a tragedy has taken place is not one of them. So I offer my prayers and if you don’t believe in that, that’s fine, I’m not forcing you to say one with me, but please do not bully me for doing so because in the end, it makes you no better than the hate we are trying to stomp out.
If our compassion is a problem, if our compassion is offensive then I think I may have figured out our society’s problem. When people are attacked or put down for the thoughts they express out of grief and love, what is left for us to express freely? All this creates is a world where everyone decides to keep to themselves in fear of saying the wrong thing. I’ll worry about me and you’ll worry about you. We live in isolation of each other, connecting only through a keyboard where we allow our differences to explode on screen and yet when we experience pure and evil hatred, again and again, we still wonder where it comes from.
Take a look around, there are so many good people left in this world. So many good people who, despite their many differences, feel love and compassion for strangers. They don’t want to live in a world of hate but they do. We have the power to change that, it’s just a matter of whether or not we have the guts to do so- or believe so, without judgement.