I started out writing about grief today.
Like so many others, I am grieving this week. Another week, another mass shooting. Beyond the horror of the event, is the horror that we (as a society) are getting so used to such events. So I grieve. I grieve for the loss of the individuals, and grieve for the pain and loss of their families and friends. But I also grieve for us collectively as a society, as human beings. I grieve for us reaching a point that if only a couple people have died or are wounded, it doesn’t even make the news cycle.
But then I thought more about. I grieve, and will continue to grieve, but instead I need to feel that we can take action to change the reality. I choose to not become afraid to go to public events or places. I choose not to avoid making eye contact because I don’t know someone. I choose not to say that “this is the way the world is now.”
Instead, I choose to look for the good, the beauty, the kindness in others. I choose to actively look for the light and love, not the darkness and hate.
On Wednesday, I left a class pretty late, waiting for a ride to see family. I was waiting in a less than stellar neighborhood, tired and hungry.
I’d been standing out there about five minutes when a man who’d been in my class came out. “Waiting for a ride?”
After he offered to give me a ride, and I assured him that my ride was on the way, he said he was going to keep me company until my ride arrived. We stood in that parking lot by the crumbling school in that rough neighborhood. We talked about views about education and school safety. We talked about maple syrup. We talked about public state colleges and private ones. And when my ride pulled in, he smiled and said, “Just wanted to make sure you were safe.”
I didn’t know him. I knew his first name only, and we will probably never see or talk to each other again. I’d heard him talking to others in the class, so I know that his political views are as far apart from mine as possible. But after a really long day of an intense class, he chose to keep me company rather than leave me alone there.
I’m sure I would have been fine waiting there alone. But that really isn’t the point. The point is that a relative stranger made an effort to take care of another human being.
While I grieve, I also recognize the beauty and wonder of humans. I want to live in a world where we aren’t desensitized to the horrors, but also don’t forget the wonders.