Tuesday, October 3, 2017

It's Going to Be Okay

Yesterday I could not turn away. Every chance I got I was glued to the news trying, like the rest of the world, to make sense of what happened in Vegas. But, there is no sense to be made, unfortunately. Life can be like that.

Vegas. The adult playground.

Vegas. A place where I have spent countless nights with my best friends playing cards, drinking Grey Goose dirty martinis.

Vegas. The city of anniversaries, birthday, romantic getaways with my one and only.

Vegas. Where I go to escape reality in the best way possible.

None of the above changes for me. Even with the unspeakable shooting that happened on Sunday night. I'll still go there. I'll still love it. Only next time, I'll be visiting a memorial 500 yards from the Mandalay Bay Hotel to pay my respects to 59 people, hopefully not more.

This may sound sick and demented, but I've had this eerie feeling that Vegas would soon be a target. I always thought it would be a jackpot for terrorists - so many people in so small of a space. Huge, towering hotels full of thousands of souls. Right by the airport. The ultimate representation of debauchery, money and luxury. But, I envisioned it as an international terrorist attack. Not one perpetuated by a 64 American male. With 20+ guns in his suite. High above a crowd of 22,000 innocent and unsuspecting concert-goers.

Like you, this was one more nail in the coffin of all of the shit that is going on right now in the world. I don't have to name off all of the traumas that surround us. But, they range from the little kid being abused in his own home to an island country without food, water and power to an insane and disgusting individual who has no respect for human life. Who doesn't deserve the honor of even being called a human being. No, he's a monster.

So, what do I do? What do we do? Well, naturally I run. I think. I pay attention.

On my run today, this song spoke to me. I've long loved this tune, but today it took on a completely new meaning. Even if you don't listen to the whole thing (but you should - and the video is powerful and tells a touching story), listen to this line (at 3:08 of the video):

"All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other"

In the midst of so much terror and sadness yesterday and today, I found myself searching for some sort of meaning. Not so say there is meaning for ANY of it, but to say that I am a believer in hope and positivity.

I believed in it when my cousin, Sherry, was murdered while running almost 6 years ago. I believed in it because there were two evil men who did an evil thing and then there were hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who participated in a virtual run in her memory and who donated to a fund for her kids. Who emailed me hundreds of pictures of support, love and encouragement for her friends and family. And, through my tears I saw something deeply healing and beautiful. So much love. I believed there was more love than hate.

I believe in it because I have to. So do you. How can we continue to to live in this world and not hold onto something?

And, I saw love > hate yesterday. Now, after the dust has settled, we hear the stories of heroes. People who risked their own lives for strangers. And you know why? Because the vast majority of us are not monsters. The vast majority of us, even when we don't really feel it, know we are connected to others. The vast majority of us have innate goodness and care. I know it.

The ONE thing that comforted me yesterday, especially as I struggled to know how to talk to my own kids about this is this, was something good old Mr. Rogers told me along time ago:

mister rogers helpers quote

Yes. The bright spot. The helpers. There are always more helpers and allies than adversaries and enemies.

But, it's not enough to be the helper on that day. You have to the helper every day of your life. This means little acts of kindness and big acts of movement towards change. This means buying a stranger a cup of coffee when they look like they need a boost. This means taking the time to take that stray dog to a shelter even if you'll be late to work.

This also means that if you think we don't identify and treat mental illness adequately in this country, do something. This means if you think we need more gun control (especially for automatic weapons), do something. As Congresswoman Gabby Giffords says, "Your thoughts and prayers aren't going to stop the next shooting. Only action and leadership will do that."

Call your elected officials and tell them how you feel and educate yourself about what is going on. We should not live in a place of giving up, laying down and surrendering.

So, yes, we are going to be okay. Not thrilled with what occurs, not always unafraid, but okay. We will rise up and do what it takes. I know I will.