Emerge :: VT
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” – MLK, Jr.
The Charleston shooting is horrifying and tragic on so many levels. I find most violence difficult to swallow, and this even more so because the victims were spending their energy on prayer. It is just one of many world-wide incidents that continue to sadden and frustrate me.
It saddens me that one human can feel so filled with hate, fear, a need to feel power over another, etc that he or she can feel justified in taking the lives of another living being. At what point do we sit down and have a talk with our children about the root causes of violence? At what point do we address the fear and the hate, regardless of its source, that we hold in our own hearts? At what point do we encourage love instead? At what point do we take and expect personal accountability for our actions? At what point do we acknowledge the wrongs done to us personally, and accept that one incident doesn’t need to define us OR our interactions with people who weren’t involved? At what point do we base our assessment of a fellow human on their character and actions alone? At what point do we ask our fellow citizens to take a look at themselves and do the same?
It frustrates me that these continued acts of violence are polarizing our country, when the only way to bring about equality for every human is through unified purpose. There is only one race. No matter where you were raised, your gender, what circumstances you were born into, what religion you embrace or whom you fall in love with, we are all brothers and sisters. You don’t have to like your siblings to respect their rights to live, to choose, to opportunity and to peace.
I am afraid for our country and our world. I think a lot about the brave, vocal leaders our world has seen who have worked tirelessly to advocate for their fellow man. Beacons of love, equality, education, acceptance and understanding like MLK, Ghandi and Mother Theresa have been bright lights in the dark and violent history of mankind. When do we take it upon ourselves to light our own candles? When do we put aside our differences and embrace civility?
The path to peace is built on equality, and paved with both determination and hard work. The cost of living in a society is responsibility. On a personal level, you are responsible for your thoughts, your actions and your willingness to work towards a better life. But there is more to it than that. Ultimately, choosing to live in a society means you are part of a whole. There must be an understanding that your choices affect the people around you. If you choose to live in a way that negatively impacts the people around you, including encouraging hate and fear in others (including your children), what incentive is there for society to continue to support you? Even if you choose not to actively raise other people up, you have a responsibility not to tear them down.
Our actions now will shape the future. There is no need to drag around the choking weight of hatred, misunderstanding and intolerance…they only serve to poison your life. You can acknowledge and respect our collective history while still choosing to rise above unhealthy fears. You will find the world to be a brighter place when you are working towards a better tomorrow.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of all of these sort of tragic events around the world. #PrayersForCharleston