We live in a time when our senses are bombarded with distractions on a continual basis. At the same time, as we battle this truth in even the most basic of times, we are encouraged to live simply, take in our moment and just be. It is almost like we are simply setting ourselves up for failure and the habitual guilting of self because we try to slow down and take in the moment, but our way of life usually won’t let us.
Until our way of life makes time stop.
I do not know anyone who has been wounded/injured/killed in this Vegas tragedy. I do not know the transgender teen who was brutally murdered in MO. I do not know anyone personally who has been affected by the devastating weather in Mexico, Puerto Rico, etc… I realize this makes my world seem so small, since the tendrils of these tragic reaches spread out so far. (The realist taking up residence in my brain uses this opportunity to point out that my time will come, and I shudder.)
I spent the stolen, few free moments of my weekend devouring a book that talks about the necessity of slowing down and living present, in the moment. I fell asleep praying, as I usually do, and I kind of vowing, brain groggily, to practice the slow/present in the morning.
Morning came hard, slamming my little untouched reality. While I do not personally know anyone altered by such brutality, this does not mean that I am not affected. I should be affected, we all should. Waking to such horror does not make me want to live in the moment. It makes me want to play a game on my phone, busy myself with mindless activity and escape from the moment. As the death and injured Las Vegas tolls rise, as my mind has to comprehend what four people did to one soul- I want desperately to be present in a different moment.
And then I chastise myself because I am so selfish. So many people DO know, do LOVE, people lost and broken by these things. Who am I to feel I deserve something different? I don’t.
I deserve to be in those trenches of hell just as much as any other person, and no one deserves it at all. The only thing stopping this from being my reality is a few details. As these things continue to happen, (and grow in severity), there is no protecting me next time.
So, I keep my promise and I intentionally practice living in this moment. This awful, terrifying, hopeless moment. Why, God? Why did this happen? How could this happen? Why is this the time I need to focus and be, and practice intentionally savoring my life? Life… Why?
Here’s why: Because I did this. We did this. Each one of us are at fault for these unspeakable things. I am sorry if that is uncomfortable, but it’s true. I am sure that someone reading this will think, offended by my words, (off course offended, I mean, isn’t that part of the problem?) and defensively remark that they would NEVER carry a gun to a hotel room and aim it at unsuspectingly HAPPY people (because 9 times out of ten, concerts are a happy place.) That same person while declare that, though may not agree with transgender equality, they would never stab and mutilate someone because of it… And yet, the internet is full of faceless people hiding behind their booming fonted arguments and opinions. The words found on the internet inspire suicides in CHILDREN. We are all so busy disconnecting from real life relationships/people/community to attack and lash out on those who disagree with us online, because it is safer that way. Is it safer that way? Look at suicide rates… Look at the state of things. We are all so macro focussed on ourselves, our thoughts, our opinions. We are all so ME FOCUSSED, that we are missing the people planning the violent ends. We are missing it. In a time when the culture is touting about how WOKE they are, maybe we are more asleep than ever. Actually no, we aren’t. We are simply laying there, eyes closed, pretending we are.
Your average home burglar will target a darker, quieter neighborhood, where everyone keeps to themselves. They neighborhoods with watches, who form a community, that’s another story. While things may still happen there, (it’s life… bad things happen) those neighbors take care of each other. THERE IS POWER in relationship. In love. In loving people, even when we don’t understand them/agree with them/etc.
Whether from Terrorists, American made or not, or the agendas of our own leaders and agencies- America is an EASY Target right now because we are so far removed from community. We are so busy looking at our selfie sticks, retweets and Insta-likes that we are missing it all- not just the beauty in our moments, but the absolute brutality in them too. Which tragic moment will act as our wake up call? Let’s stop blaming our leaders for their same behavior and start taking responsibility for our own.
The sky is blue here, the air crisp. Our nation is grieving deeply, and I am too. More than that though, I am keeping my eyes open. I am planning to love the lonely, help those in need and stop living through the filter that makes my ego feel it’s best while hiding behind anonymity… Nothing will make any of this not a tragedy, but if we rise up and unite together, the cowards will shrink back to the darkness and we can at least aid good coming out of the bile…