Tom and I awoke on Monday morning to the news of the Las Vegas tragedy, and immediately experienced the massive ripples of emotion that terrible events like these create.
With everything in our beings, we wish we could wash away the hurt, pain, anger and absolute rage that follows acts of such destruction. Much like a mother can kiss away the pain of a scraped knee...if it could only be that simple!
So what do we do with all of these feelings? The suffering? The unanswered questions...beginning with the biggest one of all, “WHY?”
Why do senseless acts of violence like this happen?
Law enforcement is scrambling to provide us logical answers. And we all wait glued to our social media feeds and news channels for each unfolding detail...
But here’s the truth:
There is no logical answer or explanation that is going to ease the pain we feel in our hearts.
There is only one person who knows the true reason for committing such an act. And his reason will never be good enough for, or make sense to the rest of us.
The answers we are looking for will also not be found in the evidence collected from the crime scene, or explanations pieced together and offered up by investigators.
In this moment, each one of us stands at possibility junction.
Each of us as individuals has an important choice to make about how we will move forward now.
We can rage with more hate and fear as we criticize, blame, and seek revenge with our pain. Actions such as these are so easy to justify in moments such as these.
However, before we act, let us pause and ask: is this action going to produce what it is I truly long for? The life giving human experiences of union, connection, joy, and the biggy: LOVE. The good stuff!
You see, violence is what happens when we don’t know what to do with our suffering!
Violence always creates more violence.
And unfortunately, the more violence that is created, the easier it is for us to resort to it as the solution of choice.
It’s a dangerous circle.
And the price is high! For, when we deal with our suffering in unhealthy ways, we inevitably cut ourselves off from experiencing the good stuff that life has to offer.
One that will require more of you. One that will take some effort and intention, yes. But it’s the choice that’s guaranteed to provide to you an experience of the good stuff.
Use your pain as fuel and take bold action with LOVE.
I recently read the greatest example of this different choice in Brene Brown’s new book Braving The Wilderness.
In it, Brene shares a Facebook post written by Antoine Leiris in November 2015 when his wife Helene was killed by terrorists at the Bataclan Theater in Paris, along with eighty-eight other people:
“On Friday night, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t want to know. You are dead souls. If that God for whom you blindly kill made us in his image, every bullet in my wife’s body will have been a wound in his heart.
So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. That is what you want, but to respond to your hate with anger would be to yield to the same ignorance that made you what you are. You want me to be scared to see my fellow citizens through suspicious eyes, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have failed. I will not change.
There are only two of us…my son and myself, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. Anyway, I don’t have any more time to waste on you, as I must go to see Melvil, who is waking up from his nap. He is only seventeen months old. He will eat his snack as he does every day, then we will play as we do every day, and all his life this little boy will defy you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hate either.”
As you make your choice today, as you decide how to respond to your own feelings of rage, pain, and loss…
REMEMBER, it will be the focusing on the good stuff that will ultimately calm our aching and outraged hearts. It’s the good stuff in life that will assure us that love always prevails, and that LOVE is the most powerful force in the universe.
May we use it to strengthen us in our times of need.
Here are a few suggestions for using the fuel of pain for love in action.
BEGIN with the idea of #contributingtoconnect:
- Donate blood
- Donate cash to a relief effort or cause that speaks to you
- Call someone you love and tell them
- Hold the door open for a fellow human
- Help a stranger or give them a reassuring smile
- Seek to understand someone who appears different than you
- Volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you
- Send a note of acknowledgment
- Surprise someone
- Find a reason to laugh
- Love...every chance you get, for this is how we experience more of the good stuff!
Now it is up to you.
The moment has come... what will be your personal choice?
How will you respond to your own suffering and painful emotions?
Our fingers are crossed that even when all you see is shit…
You will still choose the good stuff!
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