The Answers We Seek In Divisive Times

 WILFREDO LEE / AP IMAGE

WILFREDO LEE / AP IMAGE

Putting pen to paper, fingers to keys, was tough for this piece of writing. It’s been almost a week, yet my hands still shake with anger as I try to write what I feel in my heart (sadness). And my mind? Forget it. Trying to make sense of an event like this is something even the great minds of the world have difficulty processing. And so we’re swimming, all of us, upstream, in the middle of ruinous rapids. We’re inflamed and exhausted, scrambling to do our part to ensure something like this never happens again. Action. Arguments. Acquiesce. We all manage our emotions differently, yet similarly, in the raging waters of our time.

Similar. I think we’re forgetting how much sameness we hold in our hearts.

We are a divided nation, debating guns and mental health, left and right, hate and hope. I’ve tried making sense of it, and am working hard to understand both sides, while wrestling with my own opinions. I see fear dividing us; and isn’t that the goal of these mass shootings? It is inner chaos turned outward; I suffer, so you suffer.

We cannot conceptualize such evil so we become stuck in the why. We are increasingly fearful of future events, so we find something and someone to blame. This is often an important and natural response! However, the same fear and blame that is supposed to unite us, is dividing us.

Folks, our divided society is what got us here in the first place. Our systems don’t connect the dots and look at the big picture. Our communities lack human connection, despite our best efforts. Prosocial behaviors are on the decline as we manage to keep our own families afloat. Media and social sites have become a continuous loop of catastrophe and divisiveness that both inform and confuse us. This cascade of information floods our delicate minds and causes us to look outward for help (or more honestly, blame).

Action is important. We need to come together as a community and see where we can make a difference; not just now, but always. We need to put aside our deep-rooted beliefs and be open to the opinions and experiences of another. We need to have compassion, and connect in a way that makes us uncomfortable because that’s where we discover the root of another’s experience. Our experiences make us who we are, and make us uniquely connected; we all suffer, we all experience rage, sadness, pain, and loneliness. When we can recognize this truth, we put aside what divides us, and embrace what unites us. In this space, we can come together as communities and create the positive change we so desperately seek.