Things To Remember
Today is December 15, 2012 and the nation and the world has been shocked, saddened and dismayed by the actions of one unstable individual in Connecticut yesterday. The act was unbelievable to the majority of people and it leaves everyone searching for answers, looking for meaning of things and trying to deal with a situation that makes absolutely no sense. The melancholy is palpable as you move through the crowds and see the faces on what should be a festive day preparing for Christmas, family visits and good cheer.
Everyone’s reaction to a tragedy like this is going to be unique and personal, due to their life’s experience and their philosophies of existence. I react by looking through the forest of misery to seek some sort of good because it is through the hope of goodness that I can manage to carry on a hope for humanity.
There are several different aspects to this tragedy that will garner attention, from increasing gun control to better mental health services, but none of those things will change what happened yesterday, nor will they unfortunately stop it from occurring again. So that leaves us all with a simple choice, to live in fear or to increase the amount of love we put out into the world.
I think fear is a natural feeling to embrace as a reaction to this event, especially if you are the parent of a child. Putting yourself into the helpless shoes of parents and relatives of the child victims of a violent crime is so easy to do. What would you do? How can you prevent this? What steps can you take? Obviously every school in America , if not the world will increase the protocol for entering their buildings, and they should. Making the kids feel safe is vitally important.
However it is also important to know that most people are good, and wouldn’t hurt them in any way. In fact the very large majority of people in the world are good individuals, with morals, and the ability to give to those less fortunate. Pointing out these people might be a good thing to do as you move through your day.
Good things happen every day
There is no shortage of good things that people do every day for no other reason than it is the right thing to do. If we had these things covered by the media with the same gusto, then people in our country would have a lot more hope. These stories are largely ignored, because fear is a much better motivator to cause people to watch your news show. It is a fact that tragedy increases the revenue of news programs.
There should be a helicopter showing the scene of a person who just supplied all of the presents for an underprivileged family. Or how about a live update at a hospital where someone visited a sick person who was just lonely, just because it was the right thing to do. This never happens, because it isn’t news to most, but that doesn’t distract from the fact that it happens every day.
I know in the town I grew up in there is still a steady corps of volunteers that help give to those who need help. Food from the food pantry, time volunteered with the elderly, to providing free thanksgiving dinners. They represent just one small town of 1500 people or so, if you mobilized the entirety of a state, a region or a country for charitable purposes, you would be snowed under in generosity and goodness. That would be a story to hear about!
What You Can Do
There are many things that everyone can do, and they don’t take a lot of effort at all, to help everyone feel better and ease the pain of this tragedy. One of the first, everyone does automatically during these times, and that is telling those that you love how you feel about them. Too often in life we late until it is too late to say what we feel inside.
Another simple thing that we can do is just act kindly toward someone else. These acts of kindness may seem small, but they are contagious. People remember that the whole world isn’t filled with mentally disturbed people with firearms. There is good in the world and it has just touched your life.
What are these acts of kindness? Hold a door for someone, smile and be friendly to a complete stranger, the best things in life are free and these positive interactions between people are invaluable and they don’t cost a thing.
Look for ways to volunteer in your community. This can be more difficult than it sounds, determine what gifts you have that you like sharing and find a place that needs those talents in their work. Giving what you are gifted at is truly a joy and will build positive feelings in your community.
Strong and friendly communities are important for stopping tragedies like yesterday, because in a strong, tight-knit community people with mental issues might be recognized before they reach the level of critical mass. One thing that I know for sure, the way many people isolate themselves in their communities today is not working and hasn’t stopped this sort of tragedy from occurring. Life is not an individual journey.
For many people there is always the desire for revenge, and the need to punish someone for something that is obviously so very wrong. That is a natural feeling, but the gunman took his own life, so what do you do? Look for someone to punish, and his family is going to be the first target. I do not know what precipitated this mentally ill act of violence, but I don’t think that punishing any of his relatives officially or unofficially will solve anything. Whatever relationships they had with this young man, they obviously missed some warning signs. I always wonder, if I knew him, could I have convinced him to seek help, before the tragedy? If someone had an active interest in his well-being, could this have been avoided? Mostly I wonder what could have been so bad that this act of violence was the result?
Nobody will ever really know the answer to this, and it doesn’t matter at all to the families in the community affected by this. Is our society so irrevocably broken, that another tragedy is just around the corner? I like to believe not, but it really isn’t what I think that counts, it is what the majority of people, who live in our country decide by how they live. I have heard and believe that holding onto anger is like swallowing poison and expecting the person you are mad at to die. That is not a very smart prescription for peace in the world.
There are really only two choices I guess when you get right down to it, live with love or live with fear, you have to decide for yourself what is right for you. I choose to live in love and look for the never-ending good that people supply each and every day, and hope that with a little more caring for each other, there won’t be another person who sees this type of action as an acceptable statement of the hurt that life has given them.
We can hide in our homes, lock the door to keep danger out and our loved ones safe, but life was not meant to be lived like that. At some point you are going to have to venture out into the world, and your actions toward others will play a great part in what type of world you find there.