In a previous piece, I shared how the violence over the years has shaped me and my children. It was a difficult piece for me to write because it addressed something that brings great pain to me – death and destruction of life. Seriously, my heart hurts. I might not cry, but my heart hurts.
I cannot change what is going on across the world, but I can impact those around me with my thoughts and my actions. As a citizen of the World, not just the United States of America, I am committed to the following:
Those around me will know what life is. I will speak life into others through encouragement and hope. I will live life full out and with passion. I will find the light in others and do my part to help it shine brightly. I will let them know that they matter and that they are valued.
I will not allow hatred to be around me. I will bravely speak out when I see injustice to a fellow human being, regardless of their religion, sexual preference, skin color, socio-economic standing or any other category we place people into. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King, Jr
Along the same vein of bravery is kindness. They are complimentary of one another because often we must be brave to show kindness to those whom kindness typically neglects. It is kindness however that encourages more kindness and in turn a renewed faith in humanity. I will show kindness even when I am tired or feel like I have no more to give. We must wear kindness like a classic fashion trend that never goes out of style. I commit to always being stylish. 😉
Oh boy, one thing I love most about our planet is how diverse it is. It is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated. However, there are many who seek to divide and separate us. I am committed to embracing the differences that surround me. From the man who speaks a different language, to the woman who dresses differently, I will welcome them and treat them with dignity and respect.
It is not uncommon to embrace differences but then lack understanding. Cities around the world have welcomed people who were different than the majority but instead of attempting to understand the culture and values of the other person, they reprimanded them for not assimilating quick enough. I commit to seeking to understand those who are different than I am. I want to know about where they came from and what they value. I want to know what makes us similar while appreciating what makes us different.
To give grace is to show compassion. There are absolutely people who commit crimes and atrocities against mankind with the full intent of decimating the victim. While I cannot say I am at a place where I can give those individuals grace, I can give those who ask for forgiveness grace. Grace says, “I love you and give you a clean slate.” I want to be the one who helps remove the stain by showing them the same grace my Father shows me.
There are enough people in the world who will judge, I commit to not being one of them. Judgement creates divides between people. It prevents us from learning from one another and builds resentment. I want to get to know a person for who they are, not how they look or what I have heard about them. I want to save judgement for food at a restaurant or clothes on a rack, not people passing by.
The world can be a downer if we focus on all that is wrong with it. Our children will be insensitive citizens if allow them to be. So we can’t. And we can’t allow ourselves to be that way either. We must take a stand against injustice and seek a way of living that is loving and inclusive. We must rise together or we will fall apart.
Please comment below with how you pledge to spread love and counteract those who want to inflict pain. Don’t forget to share this post on Facebook.
If I see another bombing or senseless attack, I am going to scream! At least I hope I do.
I was a Senior in high school when the planes went through the World Trade Center in New York City. I remember my friend Alison telling me in the commons, my school’s equivalent of the cafeteria, that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. I did not understand what she had told me so I replied with a gasp and carried on.
When I arrived to my first period class the TVs were on. We were mesmerized. We had no idea the gravity of what was happening. We listened as the media tried making sense of what happened. As high school students, we had no idea. I remember seeing the second plane enter the second building, Gravity set in. We had an idea and it was not good.
We moved in collective shock to our next class. I remember Dr. McDonald refusing to turn the TV on for us to watch but after persistent pleading, he obliged. And it was in his classroom I witnessed the first tower collapse. I immediately left school to pick up my other siblings and retreat to our house, not knowing what was going on.
I remember watching the news replay the attack over and over and over and over again. And me crying each time.
For days, I cried. For years, pictures of what once stood (including the opening to Friends) triggered me.
Fast forward almost 16 years and I am numb.
The world I knew as a young child was shattered September 11, 2001. And the tears I once cried began to permanently dry with each iteration of what we have come to term “terrorist attack.”
The attacks at Manchester should have driven me to tears but my mind processes it all as “just a part of life” now. How dare I! That is not normal or ok. A life lost under such tragic circumstances is not ok.
But it has happened so often that the shock of such types of incidents has worn off.
I find myself asking, “what can I do?” and “how can I impact change?” I don’t do this for my own sake of feeling better, but rather for the generations coming after me. For the generation of children growing up where terror attacks are normal.
My 9-year-old is familiar with the term “suicide bomber.” My 14-year-old responds to terror attacks with a, “oh.” Tears don’t fall. Questions around the situation don’t ensue.
The numbing sensation for me did not begin until after years of processing what happened and watching repeated, small attacks happen with frequency around the world. I feel for the victims but I am no longer distraught.
As adults, we must ask ourselves, “what type of future are we creating for our children?” “what is going to be their normal?” and “are we okay with that normal?”
I should have cried when I heard about Manchester. I should have felt outrage if I was not compelled to cry. I should have felt something. Hatred and violent crime cannot win. Our children deserve better. We have to make fundamental changes.
Follow up solution blog to release June 9, 2017.