Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What can I do? It's a question that I asked myself after we heard the news break on Friday evening. It was about 600pm EST and we had just finished dinner. I was reading Wes a book while Sesame Street was playing in the background. Brandon was puttering around on his phone when he said "There were terrorist attacks in Paris." A little distracted at that moment, I said "Oh man, what happened?" and to be honest, I was only half paying attention to his answer. You know how life distracts you in that way. We didn't have details right that moment but as it became clearer what had transpired, I just couldn't shake the feeling of helplessness... actually, I still can't really shake it. After putting Wes to bed, I took to social media to, I don't know really, find some answers, find some comfort but what I found was so many of us felt the same... confused, sad, angry, scared... in some cases (like Newt below), this type of tragedy brings out the worst in people. Politicians making outlandish claims, getting their base fired up... but in more serious situations, the fear that people feel fuels something different. Fear makes people irrational and I saw a lot of tweets in my feed about good and decent Muslims who were afraid of retaliation because when folks don't stop to think before acting, it can get ugly. Fear makes people put up walls. Discussions all over the US are being had about whether or not to allow refugees from Syria to enter the country for fear of allowing terrorists into our home. There are points to both side and then you have to ask yourself how you feel and where you land on things.

It's all so confusing and scary and sad and what the hell am I supposed to do about it all?

Well, first, I am writing this post. I am starting a conversation with myself (and maybe others) about what we can do and how I/we feel. We can have intelligent dialogue, looking at all angles of this before jumping to conclusions, making rash judgements about a certain religion or people. Do some research. Read news articles. Be educated and don't be hateful. Don't shy away from the human side of the attacks. It would be so easy to ignore the individual reports about those that were killed in the terrorist attacks, to save myself from being sad but if you read about their lives, their light wasn't extinguished so fast. In a way, we are honoring them by learning about them and who they were. We can spread love. Call your Mom, call your Dad, hug your people, do it up. Tell them you love them. As Holly said, Fill the World with Kindness. You know I'm all about being kind but seriously, add a dollop of kindness on top of your normal amount of kindness because the world needs it this week. 

I wish I had a good way to end this post. I wish that I had all the answers and knew exactly what to do to be the catalyst for change and peace but we all know that is wishful thinking. I guess I will leave this as my reminder to (try to) always be cognizant of my feelings, embrace them and then use them to better me/my personal world/hopefully someone else's world.


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