Thoughts on Saturday Afternoon While Watching Inkmaster
I had to write today.
Mostly because I am angry – angry people died yesterday, angry that the news media turns it into a sideshow, and angry that instead of having intelligent debate on why horrific things like this are happening more frequently, and how they can prevented, we reduce ourselves to childish school yard analysis of already hot-button issues.
And I am sad. Sad because so many families suffered a loss yesterday. And sad because some of those families who suffered a loss are also the focus of scrutiny as to why their loved one was driven to do such a horrible act. Every time something like this happens I find myself wondering – why do we forget that the “killer” “shooter” “perpetrator” was also someone’s child, someone’s friend, someone’s sibling, maybe even someone’s lover? Please don’t mistake that I think their actions are justifiable, but I wonder about those who survive them…they have their own special kind of pain – and will spend their lives wondering what they could have done to spot this, to stop it before it happen, questioning what they said or did or didn’t do that led to such brutality.
There are other things that trouble me…why it takes something like this to make us realize how lucky we are? We should be celebrating that every damn day. Every day we wake up, we should be saying to ourselves, what am I going to do to make today a better day for at least one other person – you know, like a smile, or a kind word, or a laugh. Every day we should be counting what we have and how fortunate we are to have it instead of constantly judging everyone around us as to what they deserve and what they don’t. What kind of person they are and how they deserve to be treated. Because we have all done some horrible things. Of course, we’ve managed to justify and minimize them, and bury them in the back of our minds and act like other people have done worse. Fact is, causing another person pain is causing another person pain and when we do it, we are just as guilty as those “monsters” we are always talking about.
The debate will rage on about what caused the tragedy yesterday…gun supporters will say the teacher should have been armsed, the anti-gun wing will say that banning guns would have prevented it. Some will say better security measures, others will say better mental health treatment. What will I say? I will say we live in a culture that doesn’t place any real value on what matters most in the world – human kindness and an understanding that we are all connected – nothing that happens in this world that doesn’t somehow impact every day. We live in a culture that focuses on the acquisition of material possessions as a measure of our worth. I give you the example of the big screen TV and how it is offensive to people when seen in the home of “poor” people. Why are we offended? Because a person who has not worked as hard as we have to have this symbol of wealth and success has it in their home and they have not worked for it like we have. Why does that matter? Can’t we just feel good about what we have without begrudging others what they have? How do the material objects owned by others diminish the good I have in my life?
That said, I want to live in a world where everyone realizes that happiness lies in raising everyone up to a better place, not climbing on the backs of others to make myself feel better, more important, or superior. I am the first to say that I can be very cynical, snarky, and dare I admit it, cruel! I can be judgmental better than anyone I know – but I also am very cognizant of when I am behaving in ways that are not so complimentary and I try my best to turn it around. I fail a lot, but when I succeed I feel a little light, and little happier. And yes, I realize in being analytical about what I am seeing and feeling is judgmental, but if you do not look at all sides of the issue, you cannot understand it. It’s like a wall in the middle of a room. There’s more to the room. You can stay on your side of the wall and be happy and comfortable and secure in your half of the room. You don’t have to move. If you do go around the wall and see what’s on the other side, you may or may not like it, but at least you know what’s there and what the whole room looks like. You can like some things on both sides of the wall, or you can stay on the whichever side makes you feel most comfortable. What matters is, you understand that the wall is just a way of dividing up the whole. You choice is your choice. But you can make a better choice when you see the whole instead of one half. And maybe one side truly is more appealing, more beneficial than the other, but you can’t understand that unless you look at all of it. That’s why I write – because choosing the right words forces you to look inside, and look at what you are really thinking and saying.
And like this morning’s stream of consciousness – I have come to an end somewhat far from where I’ve started. I’m just grateful that there’s heat in the house, and my son is healthy, and that I’ve got another day to figure out what my purpose is. I’m also grateful that even though there is so much sorrow in the world, so much hardship, there are still people who have not abandoned hope that tomorrow will be different.
Be well my friends, and share your joy.