I woke up early and went about my morning routine. Brought the kettle to a whistle and poured the piping hot water over my coffee grounds. Headed out to the coops and unleashed the feathered friends for a day of free range bliss among the fall foliage, sunrise peeking through the trees, dappled light glistens on the sheer blanket of morning dew on the earth below.
I returned to the house, windows open, cool air pouring in tinged with the scent of fresh pressed java, infused with ginger and coriander, still hanging in the space from dinner the evening before. A distinct, exquisite combination of aromas and I actually thought to myself, “What a beautiful way to start such a beautiful day”.
I poured my coffee and sat on the patio. I spent time messaging back and forth with my sisters and a friend from far away. It was futile pleasantry, nothing of substance or even significance. Just early morning giddiness between loved ones, light-hearted banter. It made me reflect on how much I miss all of them.
I went back inside to check on the troops, to make sure the kids were up and preparing for their school day. As always I flipped on the radio and began morning chores. Within moments, a sobering realization…
Today is not a beautiful day at all.
This day will forever be marred by mayhem in our country. Our nation awoke to tragedy of the worst kind. The massacre that took place last night in Las Vegas will go down as the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Think about that reality for a moment…
The deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Please. Take a moment to think of how we go about our daily lives. We tolerate nuisances at work and at home. We celebrate joyful moments, we embrace the good things in life. When things go wrong for us, we contemplate life a little more deeply. We make plans. We get excited about vacations and pay-raises. We tackle home-improvement projects and fold laundry in the comfort of our own home while binge watching whatever Netflix original series seems to capture the attention of our nation at the moment. We tighten up the budget when a big chunk of change gets allocated to new brakes on the family truckster or when unexpected medical bills pile up. We engage in meaningful conversations and we space out when the conversations get boring. We work. We worship. We garden. We grocery shop. We take our kids to soccer practice and we cheer them on along the sidelines. We take our dogs for a walk and watch them play with other dogs at the dog park. We order pizzas on Friday nights and we do yard work on the weekends. We plan birthday parties, anniversary getaways and holiday feasts. We mourn the loss of loved ones. We make mistakes. And we learn from our mistakes. We get mad at family members and friends, strangers and coworkers. Sometimes justified, sometimes not. We often say things we don’t mean. Sometimes we say exactly what we mean. We speak straight from the heart. We love passionately. We question ourselves and those around us fiercely. Often, we carry the weight of ego-driven denial and dissatisfaction. We fight over politics and we come together in crisis. We go to the gym. We practice yoga. We take walks in the evening sunset. We write. We get sad. We get mad. We get happy. We feel threatened. We feel fulfilled. We live.
Every single day, we live.
This is the beauty of life. To fully and completely feel and engage in whatever we choose, in whatever is happening around us, good or bad. Something as simple as my morning routine, perfumed with nature and last night’s supper.
That. Is. Living.
The victims of last night’s tragic, senseless massacre lost their divine right to live. Their dreams for the future, their good times and bad times, the heartaches and the successes they could have experienced alongside their loved ones are simply gone. Lives forever lost. Survivors, friends and family’s lives forever changed.
How do these survivors find the strength to move on, to get back to doing all of those random things that life requires of them? I certainly can’t answer that.
Last night a man soaked a city in trauma. Trauma that will seep into the fabric of our nation. It will stretch across state lines and national borders. Global citizens will mourn alongside us and the loved ones of the victims. This traumatic event in our nation’s history will beg moments of silence, reading of names, reflection of loss every single year for lifetimes to come.
No disrespect, but for what?
To honor the victims? To show support to their loved ones who are suffering so deeply they can no longer live normal lives? To encourage change in regard to gun control? To stand up against hate? To fight terrorism? To raise awareness for mental Illness? Honestly, the moments of silence, the reflection of loss, the reading of the names… What is it all for?
I can’t answer that either.
We need more than reflection and honor and remembrance. We need more than governmental involvement and protests in the streets and lobbying for policy change and empty words, empty promises and soap box speeches (like this one). Sure, all of those things are important. They matter. But we need so much more. We need a paradigm shift.
We need a revolution from home.
We need parents and grandparents and teachers and neighbors and friends and villages to invest in the good of their community, and especially in the children of their community. We must invest in love and peace on the Homefront – and I don’t just mean around the dinner table. Sure, it starts there. But I mean in our nation, in our cities and in our towns. We must build up those who are hurting in our community. We must create resources for those who haven’t been given the love or the engagement or the understanding of togetherness that they need to feel connected to mankind in this world. We must find ways to identify those people and reach out to them. These are the children, the people who have the potential to be empowered by peace or empowered by pain. Those two worlds look entirely different from one another. Those two lives lead to completely different places and events and fleeting moments. Those people are waiting for us to step up for them. Our nation needs us to step up for them.
How do we do that?
- I see friends and family members who foster children in their community. They are the real change.
- I see citizens who volunteer in local programs for at-risk youth. They are the real change.
- I see parents who donate their time in the classroom and grandparents who tutor kids for free. They are the real change.
- I see churches feeding and clothing citizens in need. They are the real change.
- I see families inviting preteens and teens to hang-out at their house, eat dinner around the table, help do the dishes, talk about life struggles. They are the real change.
These are the ways we can create a revolution from home. But we need a MUCH BIGGER revolution and we need SO MANY MORE hands on deck.
We must invest in humanity. Through our children – those we birth and those who hang out down the street. Those who clearly need guidance and those who you suspect lack advocacy, are being neglected or abused. They need our love. They need us to feed their bellies, their hearts, their spirits, their futures. We have the power to influence change in the upcoming generations. Our children and grandchildren deserve to grow up in a more peaceful, settled, healthy America.
I’m brainstorming. I’m thinking. Hard. My words may help. I hope so. They may hurt. I hope not. If nothing else, I pray they make someone – anyone – consider how they can contribute to the peace-work and to the love our country so desperately desires. If not for us, for the generations to come.
We need a revolution from home.