Yesterday I flew from Florida to Oregon, which means that I was on airplanes for most of the day. I got home from the airport around midnight and checked my phone — to find the horrific news coming out of Dallas. Coming on the heels of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the murder of five police officers was….well….words simply fail to describe the tragedy and travesty.
I woke up this morning with so many emotions, which I tried to untangle as I sat on the couch, drinking my coffee, watching it rain. I felt grieved, appalled, saddened….and helpless.
I don’t live in Baton Rouge or Minneapolis or Dallas. I can’t bring the guilty parties to justice. I can’t bring back the lives that we have lost over the past three days.
If you’re anything like me, maybe you woke up feeling this way, too. What do we do when we feel hopeless, powerless, helpless? What do we do in the wake of senseless tragedies?
First, I think we can choose destruction or construction. Anger, ranting, blaming, finger-pointing, despair and resignation are destructive responses. Kindness, gentleness, meekness, grief, repentance, prayer, listening and civil discourse are positive, constructive responses.
Second, we can realize that what each of us do every day matters. Just like the art technique of pointillism, each dot adds up to paint a picture of how we want the world to be. Each dot, each action, each conversation, each interaction with another human being is an opportunity to vote for “on earth as it is in heaven.”
God-willing, in the next few days, weeks and months, the truth will be told, justice will be served, what is broken will be made whole, and we will regain our collective sanity.
In the meantime, what are we to do?
Choose to construct rather than destruct.
Cast your vote for how the world should be by choosing to be kind, patient, gentle and generous.
Today, make a positive difference in the world by tending your garden, checking on your elderly neighbor, baking cookies, writing a poem, organizing a block party for your neighborhood, reading a story to a child, participating in a peaceful protest, or spending time on your knees in prayer.
Because black lives matter.
Because police lives matter.
And because what you do every day — the way you choose to treat other people and the way you choose to exist in our beautiful, broken world — matters, too.