Right now there are so many swirling emotions for anyone who is looking in horror at the devastating effects of one man’s desperate act, that is it hard to stay calm and centered in the midst of it.
Many are looking for someone to blame, whether it be whoever could have prevented this, or the seeming root causes coming from another culture, far away from us.
But choosing to search for the ‘right place to blame’ points a finger outside of ourselves, and removes the responsibility we have within, to keep taking steps and making strides toward eliminating hate. And that means, that we must love.
In a recent television interview on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was speaking to Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan. In it Ms. Sheehan, who is also an organizer for the LGBT community, explained that she loved her city, and would never live anywhere else. She has been witness to the countless numbers of people who were coming together to provide much needed support for the victims and their families, many of whom were flying in to the US for the first time.
When asked why she loved her city so much, she said, “Because we are people who love.” She said this despite having experienced attacks from all over social media, and being gay herself, said she has been accustomed to receiving attacks all of her life.
Earlier in the week she had made a statement for which she was receiving enormous attack: “Whether you hate a muslim, or hate someone who’s gay, it’s all the same”. She was astounded by the numerous and overwhelming attacks she was receiving for that statement, when she thought that was just a normal way to think. A given. Something she thought everyone already knew. Apparently not.
Hate is hate. I am hoping we can all rise together out of this catastrophe, and see that we still have much to do with rooting out hate in our culture, in our minds, in our society and the world at large. It may be a crazy vision, but many have had crazy visions before. It’s where we must begin. In the words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one”.
So take pride, and courage in the knowing of the fact that you stand for Love. You stand for tolerance and acceptance of everyone and everything. Yes, even the killer. He was seeking love and acceptance himself, and found what he was looking for in the wrong place. Far, far away from here, where he was living, and working, and trying to make his way in the world.
No one can explain these things away very easily. But what we can do is stay vigilant for love. To stay attentive to where our own hate may lie. Where are we rejecting people? Cultures, habits or communities? Those we don’t like, and label as “them”? We are already doing this on a large scale in our government and politics.
And finally, what are we rejecting and placing as “other” within ourselves?
No one is asking you to be perfect. In fact, you already are. But turn to love. Make it a priority. Put it front and center of who you are, because quite naturally it is Who You Really Are.
Stay a dreamer, stay in love, stand with these forces and join with the rest who do the same.
“I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as One”
-John Lennon, “Imagine”