When things like, well, everything that is going on right now happens, it is very easy to get angry. Hell, I already have several times in the last month. That was even before the Las Vegas massacre perpetrated by a domestic terrorist (because that’s what it is and that’s who did it, regardless of his belief structure).
See, I did it right there just by making sure I point out my argument. I took a few words out of my blog time just to poke the other side.
We get consumed by what the others do or say that makes them our enemy. It is very easy for us to forget ourselves and becomes overly concerned for the world, and even more so about other people’s opinions. We get swallowed up by unimaginable grief for our fellow human (if we are that lucky to experience empathy on such a level). I fell asleep at 7pm on Monday night because this is all just too much on my soul.
I decided that instead of a rant, though, I would like to provide you all with a more loving story. And, as the universe is wont to do, this is a very recent one that has been placed before me. I think this will help me make my above point a little clearer…
Today is my Trader Joe’s day, so yesterday was, of course, the day I was running out of the precious few cups of coffee I had left for this morning. At about 5:30pm last night, I asked Mike to run to the store around the corner to grab me coffee. Scar wanted to join him and the two were off for a quick donut date.
Dinner was cooking. The kitchen was glowing more and more as the sky outside darkened and the yellow florescence overtook the room. I figured that I shouldn’t get comfortable. They would be back any minute. Mike’s phone was dead or almost so. Bedtime was looming. Everything was settling in as it should be.
But then it was 6:30pm and the last I heard was a text about grabbing a bubble tea (and to be fair, as I go on, those places are everywhere around here). So I started breathing a little heavy. I had just been able to sit down from getting things cleaned up around the house so my mind was clear for the taking. I got that acid reflux feeling and my face grew hot. I took a deep breath and just kept saying to myself that they were fine. Mike was fine and she was safe and they would walk in the door any minute. And then it was 7pm and I realized I had gotten away with phone games and social media for far too long.
I was not angry about it being bedtime. I was not angry at Mike for not charging his phone. I was full-on worried that a car hit them or someone hit him over the head and took her and how miserable he would be if he felt like he hadn’t done enough to save her or if there was a shooting but I am sure I would have heard sirens… These are the extremes that my anxiety always reaches for (though, as of late, can you blame me). I am a very nervous person. But there was not an ounce of anger.
Finally at 7:30pm, I ran downstairs to the stoop, barefoot with only my keys. It was chilly now and I knew she didn’t have a tee-shirt. What if someone took her and Mike was looking for her and it was cold and she had no hoodie and she was scared? I mean, the places your brain will go when you are scared to lose someone, right? I am way too creative. But as I placed my hand over my chest to take another breath, there they were getting closer to the building.
“We went to the other one on the avenue. We had a nice walk. Sorry my phone died.”
It was that simple. They had tried to give me an hour or two to relax because it was only Tuesday night and I felt like I had been part of a marathon since Sunday. My first response when I saw their smiles beaming up at me was to laugh. And then suddenly, without warning, tears. And I cried out loud in front of my building, in front of Mike and Scar, and in front of the pizza delivery man next door. Mike apologized profusely but I insisted that it was okay. The tears were simply because I was so happy to see them. Two hours for a coffee, a donut, and quality time and it felt like they had been gone lifetimes. Like I was sitting in the tower waiting for them to rescue me from my loneliness. Apparently no matter how busy I get, I would rather have them around me than not. I also got hit on the head with a few other points.
The obvious first is the amount of love I must be capable of to react in the way that I did. The feeling that washed over me when I saw them was unbelievable and I was not on the verge of tears prior to seeing them. The next thing is the severity of my anxiety, coping, and generally everything that I had suppressed for so many years with so many things. That’s a work in progress. I was so alarmed that I couldn’t even think about crying until I had them in my presense again. I liken my anxiety level to what it probably feels like when you get electroshock therapy, on a constant loop in my brain and in my chest until it is aleviated.
The third was all the parents, children, friends, lovers, and the like after this massacre just trying to find out if their loved ones made it out alive. I thought about the fact that fifty-nine groups of families and friends did not get to experience what I felt when I saw Mike and Scar again last night. And a few hundred others were/are teetering on the hope that their loved ones are okay. In a limbo. The point where you can’t calm down but you don’t even know yet what you are going to freak out about because there is some hope there. That electroshock feeling becomes all the more real.
Life is so gloriously ours to cherish. It is tragedies like this that continuously happen and I can’t understand for the life of me why we haven’t tried to fix this, or any of the other hate-fueled injustices that have cropped up over the last year (let alone the last hundred or so). I write this story to implore EVERY ONE, right or left, god-like or godless, wealthy or poor, to think about this feeling I described to you. This love that can move you from a place of worry to a place of safety, ping-ponging back and forth so vigorously that you don’t have time to think about how you will express it. Will it be laughter or tears? But not yet anger. That doesn’t set in until your worries become founded and your heart can never return from that sinking place. Maybe if we focused on stepping into those shoes, feeling that worry, and then the relief or grief that follows, then we can start to heal these wounds and see each other for the human beings that we are. And we can remove the roadblocks of human connection by understanding that we all are capable of this love. When we refuse to have necessary conversations for our own selfish beliefs, more human beings feel like this. More mothers, more sisters, more fathers, more sons.
Like I say, it is time to get a soul, America. It is time for everyone to understand that the enemy is any form of hate, greed, or anger and the only weapons that will win the fight are truth, understanding, and love.