You would think we were past this. I certainly did. You would think we wouldn't need to shout it out from the rooftops that love is love is love is love, but we do. We continue to promote our agenda of love and acceptance in all it's forms and colors and shapes and sizes and variables. Because, really, love is love is love is love is love.
Did you watch the Tony Awards on Sunday? Because they were the perfect antidote to the horror of that early morning. At least for a little while, we got to sing along and clap and cry and laugh with these incredible people making magnificent, all inclusive art.
Much needed love and celebration all night after so much hate.
I cried. I'm a great big sap. But I would choose that over being hard-hearted and full of hate any day of the week. I've done that and it is miserable. I choose love and hope.
What would it be like to live your life in such a way that you kill what you hate?
What would it be like to look at someone - a same sex couple kissing - and wish them wiped out?
What would it be like to look at someone with different color skin, with different religious beliefs, with different sexual organs and maybe with different attractions than you and wish them great harm?
What would it be like to hate yourself and maybe see people that openly act on the desires that you cannot openly act on and that causes you to hate and kill those people?
I honestly do not know what that would feel like.
But I know one thing. Everyone bleeds red. When we get right down to it, all the people that need blood, they don't care where it comes from. What color skin or what sexual orientation it originated from.
The thing about something horrific happening is that it draws people together. People give blood. People give money. People give time and effort to help. People cry out in want of a solution so this doesn't happen again. And yet it keeps happening.
But then it dies down and the outcry isn't as urgent. It isn't as horrific as it felt that first morning when we woke up to the news or another mass shooting. When we hear AGAIN that a terrible unthinkable mass shooting has happened very close to home. To some of our most vulnerable.
We need to shout out our love. We need to shout out our discontent with the status quo and the way things are and demand change. DEMAND CHANGE.
How do I explain this kind of tragedy to my very small, very impressionable kids? That this group of people was killed because of someone's hate?
They are 3 years old. I can still shield them from this for a while, and I'm going to do just that. But the day is coming that we will need to tell them about why this happens, and I am dreading it.
The truth of it is, there has always been love and hate. There have always been wars and conflict over religion and beliefs. There has always been racism, segregation, sexism and well, terrible unimaginable hate.
So much hate. So much blood running red from hate of what is "different".
My kids tell me "hate" is a bad word. Because that is what I've told them. Because it IS a bad word. It's that simple. Even if you really really don't like something, hate is still a strong word to choose. I don't use it in my vocabulary as much as I used to. It's not a casual phrase to use anymore, to say, "I HATE blah blah blah." It takes on so much more when little ears are listening. When you have kids you find all kinds of words enter and leave your everyday verbiage and you wouldn't even recognize the way you used to speak. Because they are always listening.
These kids do not know from hate. They do not know from gay. They do not know from racism. They do not know from religion. They know love. They know kindness and helping. They know forgiveness.
They know the word love and they know what reaction they get when they use it and when they act on it and when they say it to another person they feel that way about. They know it's comfort and it's certainty without question. They know they are deeply loved.
My hope is that all who die in these unnatural ways know they were loved. Unquestionably. And those that loved them know it right back.
When I think about this happening as an adult, I feel sick and don't understand that kind of hate.
When I think about this from the perspective of a three year old? Well, I cannot begin to grasp what could possible explain it to them.
Sickness. Somebody was very very sick and that sickness is called hate. Hate kills people. Most unfortunately, it can kill other people right along with the sick person. It drags everybody down, even the innocent. Especially the innocent.
We have sick people filled with hate all over the internet, which means, they are all over us right now. They are in my office. They are on my trains. They are politicians. They are teachers. They are in our neighborhood. They are in our families.
I do believe in change. I believe hateful people can change. I believe sick people can get well. I've seen it happen countless times. I've seen it happen in myself. I once was lost, but now am found. I have hope. I do. I know, it's incredibly hard to choose hope right now, but we must soldier on.
My takeaway is that because we have come so far - and make no mistake we have come so far - that these things now strike us as unbelievable and shocking and cause us to question our hope. Our faith. Our reasons for doing what we do each day. They've been happening as long as man has walked the earth. And yet we love. We hope.
What are we going to do. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
I am tired of HASHTAG PRAYERS FOR.... I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I'm scared. But I'm also hopeful. Because it's a choice I make every single day. I find the gratitude and I take one step forward because I have to.
Prayer is not enough. Prayer is not something to hide behind. I am not religious or even a believer in god, but I do believe. And I do have faith. When I look for it, I see my kids. I see all these kids and it lifts me up. It challenges me to not give up and to not lose that hope. I see people recovering every single day from terrible odds and situations that shouldn't be recoverable, and yet they are doing it. That is my hope and faith. Right there. Human beings love. Human beings love.
We all need something to hold onto. What is it for you? Hold on tight. I choose gratitude and hope and love. Because it's bigger than hate.
Because all those people killed, every single day, all across the globe? They were loved. They didn't die so we could all lose hope.
Tell your people. Make sure they know. Tell them with certainty that you love them and they are granted grace. Shout it out that this kind of thing is NOT OK.
Love is love is love is love is love is love. Hate is strong. Hate with an automatic weapon? FUCK OFF.
Hate is ugly and soul ravaging. Love is bigger. LOVE CAN BE BIGGER. My heart hurts for all those hurting over lost loved ones today. And tomorrow. And forever. Because you can count on this happening again. Until along with all the HASHTAG PRAYERS, comes some real change and action. I believe in change. I believe in hearts and minds and laws being able to change. When we are granted grace, anything is possible.
Look around you. You will see people with broken hearts at every turn. They are the most vulnerable. To the LGBTQ community and all of us who love you, I stand with you always, in solidarity. We don't need anybody to tell us that who or what we love is wrong. You are perfect and you are loved and you are respected.
If nobody has called or reached out to you to say, I'm sorry that this happened. I'm sorry this is happening to you, I'm sorry. I am so sorry. I read this great article from John Sundholm last night and it really brought home the enormous pain that is wrapped up in hate for a group of people that are at their core, just like us. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, daughters and sons. You can read it here.
Know that for as much hate out there that is evident every day and brought to the forefront, there is a great big deal of love your way and support and standing with you from so many of us too. We just want love. We just want love.
Never ever underestimate hate. But never underestimate great big love either. You will never regret it if you love big.
There are so many heroic helpers out there. All the rescuers from police to doctors to nurses to politicians trying to make change. To those of us marching and getting the word out and demanding change and not stopping until we see it. To parents fighting for their kids and kids fighting for their parents. To teachers and administration and employers and partners. We may not be a violent army with guns, but we march every single day and it takes an enormous toll. I am a helper. We are teaching our kids to be helpers.
LOOK FOR THE HELPERS. They are always around us. BE THE HELPERS.
Be the parents that teach your kids to love, not hate. To love all. To respect all you want respect from. Regardless of what people look like, who they love, what they eat or where they live. That is no easy feat. It is not to be underestimated as unimportant. You are doing GREAT WORK.
My kids are attending their very first wedding this weekend and it happens to be a gay wedding (yes, a wedding is a wedding but I'm SHOUTING OUT MY JOY that my gay friends can get married). And this couple loves big. Their hearts are two of the kindest I've ever seen. Now that is love. Perfect love. I'm thrilled that the first wedding my kids witness will be filled with so much pure love and joy. And cake. There will be cake, right? Because that's what my kids really care about.
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