I, like many, got lost within the darkness this past week. Watching news unfold of unimaginable horrors and horrific violence. Tragic, completely unnecessary loss of many, many lives and the shattered worlds of all those who loved them. I sat for hours with my shades were drawn to block out the sun, and watched mothers beg for news of a loved one, victims sitting in shock at the horror of what they have lived through and then, the faces and stories of all the beautiful souls gunned down.
As I sat, lost within news, the world seemed to grow darker all around me. I know evil exists. I am not naïve. I’ve seen it firsthand. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the depths of deplorableness one human can sink to, and the absolute devastation humans can do to one another. We have all seen it. Sadly, many of us have experienced it. Over the course of our lives, we will, at some point, be touched by it. Evil lurks next door to us; down the street, around the corner, one town over, or sometimes, under our own roof. It’s not just in other countries, other states or places we will never step foot in. It’s everywhere and strikes without warning.
Evil changes humanity.
Yes, there is evil in this world. Yes, it demands and takes headlines, it overtakes our airwaves and generates millions of sound bites. News stories, photos all in real time make it feel like we are in the middle of a war of good vs. evil, and the evil is winning.
The truth of the matter is – we are. Sad fact, evil wins a lot. It does. Just watch the news, read stories online; you see it right in front of you every single moment of every single day. It draws you in, breaks your heart and if you are completely honest with yourself makes you feel some small token of relief that it wasn’t you. Then, the guilt overtakes you, and you are spinning down a road of an uncertain life now. Scared to do things you’ve always done because next time, it could be you. It could be someone you love. It could happen anywhere, at any time.
It’s true. It could.
Most when coming to this realization, overreact. “Ban all the guns!” they cry. “Kick all the Muslims out!” they yell. “It’s Obama’s fault!” “It’s Hillary!” “The politicians are to blame!” “We need to arm ourselves!” “We need to take a stand against ISIS, if I were in charge, I would just…” And, it goes on. All the internet warriors, safely ensconced in their living rooms have all the answers and just dare and try to contradict them.
Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I wish humanity, as a whole, would get its collective head out of its ass.
Do we need to ban all guns? No, but we do need better controls. Kicking out all Muslims because of extremists is equivalent to throwing out all Baptists because of the Westboro Baptist Church followers. Blaming, finger pointing and a complete lack of common sense doesn't defeat evil – it strengthens it.
Fear causes good people to behave badly. Hatred born of fear rips apart families, destroys friendships and drives even more rifts into humanity. Fear causes people to become irrational, dug in so deep the light cannot penetrate. Then, there are many so overcome by it all, who shut off the news and ignore what is going on in this world. Turning a blind eye may make you feel better, ignorance is bliss, but it doesn’t change what is happening all around you. It just makes you less able to handle it when all of a sudden it is right in front of you.
I am forever the optimistic realist.
I would love to say; “Love will save the day!” And, on some level, it always will. But, not alone. I know this. I’ve been in a situation when a man had many weapons and had every intention of doing not only me but many others harm, and the last thing I was going to do is hug him and tell him I loved him. What I did do is everything in my power to restrain him until help arrived so that I, as well as the others, could live another day. Until someone has been in a situation like this, they won’t understand. I have and would do nothing different. We need to be able, at any time, to defend not only our life but the lives of others. Hugging a bad guy will not work. We all need to learn situational awareness. Being fully present in our surroundings. Like it or not, this is the world we live in. Doesn’t mean live in fear all the time, it means that to be free we must always be willing to defend ourselves. It means we have to pay attention, at all times, within all situations.
Vigilance and strength are just as important in life as love and peace.
I am a kickass warrior with the heart and soul of someone who believes in love. I have seen what evil is capable of. I have wept at the loss of lives, destruction of beautiful humans every single time it happens, regardless of where in the world it occurred. I know I will never be able to get to some of these places touched by abhorrent evil to help anyone there but I, and you, can be a force for change within in this world starting at our very own doorstep.
Change begins at home within our communities, states, and nations. Change starts in how you treat others whose lifestyles, beliefs or social station differ from yours. Change begins the moment you give up the need to be right and start listening to others and honoring their worlds, as well. We are a human race with so many differences, and that should be the catalyst to the changes this world so desperately needs because each one of us brings something different and unique to the table.
There is so much good in this world, yet it is so easy to lose sight of. Until moments in time like what we have been living lately – when darkness shows the light of humans reaching out to humans. Start where you are, with what you have inside of you, right now. Start with your neighbors, strangers at the grocery store or wherever in the world you find yourself. Stop judging people who are different than you. Stop letting your fear control your actions. Stand firm in your beliefs and live your life by them but, for all that is good in this world, give that same right to others.
Sometimes the darkness shows you the light. Sometimes within the darkness, you are the light. Love will always heal. Love will always be a way out. United we are a force to be reckoned with. But, we must first be open and willing to unite with others who live and believe and love differently than we may. Because if we don’t, if we fail to come together and listen and appreciate where others are coming from – the evil will always win and all those lives lost will have been in vain.
We live in a world where we will always need to remain vigilant, aware of our surroundings and willing and able to defend not only ourselves but those around us as well. A sad but true fact. However, that being said, we also live in a world that is filled with amazing souls who do good and who put as much love and light out as humanly possible.
Let us all do our part to defend, unite and triumph in the face of evil.
Alone we can do something but together we can change the world.