Thursday, January 8, 2015
We read headlines. "12 dead at the hands of terrorists." "3 dead and 140 people injured at the Boston Marathon." "The nation mourns the loss of 20 children who attended Sandy Hook Elementary." "2,996 people perish when two planes crashed into The World Trade Center." Over and over again we hear numbers. Occasionally, we will get to hear stories and see the life behind the number, but mostly we hear the totals. People are reduced to numbers and getting the story out there as fast as possible is why. The News has become so instant and each network is competing to bring the story to the people fastest and somewhere along the line, we lose sight of humanity. That is until the horror is over and television specials get made about the heroes and good-doers. Those who raced to help or those who died trying to. You hear how amazing a select few of who perished were, with highlights of their lives and legacy. Still, most of the time we are dealt numbers and a lot of the focus is also thrust upon who is to blame. Twenty four hours a day you can turn on some news outlets and watch as they hunt for the people who committed these heinous crimes. The lives of the masked men are on a reel and commentators start to go through their background and what their motivations were. They get their fame. Their motivation was to cause a stir and get known for their criminal actions. Way to go news outlets - you're feeding right into their motivations.
Our societal need to know every detail has actually made most of us numb. We hear numbers and we say a prayer and thank the lord that our families are okay. For the most part, society moves along. Yes, "the show must go on," but what will it take to really hit home for the masses? As you watch people in coffee shops and listen as they skim over the newspaper you hear things like, "So tragic." or "I can't even believe it." And then they go off to the grocery store, gas station, to their jobs or back to normal life because it didn't happen there and so their world isn't affected in a sense.
As a very sensitive person, I am often affected by things that some would think I'm crazy for caring about. It's just the way my inner make-up is... Still, so often you hear people say, "if you worry with all that goes on in the world, you wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning." It's true, there's so much injustice and yet we get up, we get dressed and we go out into the world hoping to shine some little spotlight of hope out into this world. Now I know that no matter how much I want it to, the world can't stop every time something horrific happens in the world. I just wish there were better outlets or more meaningful ways for these horrible news stories to come to light. I wish instead of putting the newspaper in the recycle bin and heading off to Yoga, we could take a moment and think of each and every life that is no more. A person. A human life. A soul full of dreams, attached to a family and circle of friends is gone. Not 12, not 3, not 20 and not 2,996. Each and every one. Think of everything your life is made up of: goals, plans, siblings, parents, cousins, children, jobs, co-workers, significant others, projects, pets, dreams, school, etc... So many layers to a person and all of that is what was taken.
Even as I say this, I'm moving along with my life. Yesterday 12 were killed in Paris, France for speaking their mind through cartoon. There was a crime against freedom of speech which took 12 beautiful souls away from this Earth. Still, I am here working (well blogging between phone calls) and I am breathing. Yet it is ever present in my mind. I can't get it out of my head what went down yesterday. It hurts and I want to cry every other second and well to some - that's not normal. I can't help the way I feel things and I don't expect the world to feel as much as I do. Nor do I feel like some kind of special breed having feelings of this caliber. I just wish that the society we live in would stop creating such numbness. I believe that the cycle of numbness is the reason for more violence. One grows numb to what a life is and sees it as 1 of 12 and maybe he's angry, feeling jilted or dealing with some sort of mental illness and sadly another news story is born.
When you hold life as a precious commodity, you just want everyone to have the chance to make something of it. We are all given the same gift and when someone gets their book condensed, you wish they would have been afforded more chapters. Especially, when you're blessed enough to keep writing your story. That's what life is for, to be lived until your story is over, whenever that may be. None of us know when that day will come and so like I said before, "the show must go on." We all must find a way to keep moving forward and the crucial reasons are three-fold. One, we cannot let evil win. If we all sat down in our tears and agony, the world would stop and more chaos would ensue. Two, we must live in honor of those who perish. When someone passes, I often think about their plans. What they were going to do tomorrow or next year. Everyone has plans and their plans were so wrongfully cut short. Keep your plans with them in mind and life a good life. Three, fear cannot follow tragedy. So often we become fearful that something similar could happen to us. We start to change our walking routes or schedules to ensure the mere possibility won't be in our midst. As soon as change because of fear happens, Evil has won. Persistence and making statements like "Not Afraid," that's what squashes Evil's efforts - no matter how hard it might be at first.
Fear. It is Evil's best friend and its cloud is dark and mighty and loves to cover beautiful things. The randomness of horrible occurrences make it easy to be full of fear. Bad things happen all the time and to good people. There is no equation or pattern to it and so you cannot let fear be a constant in your mind. When fear tries to infiltrate, close your eyes and remember those who were not afraid. Those voices who held their own and took a stand for something. Even as I type here and let my opinions flow out of me, I feel fear creep up into my mind. "Hey you there, you know that someone could take what you have to say the wrong way, don't you?" And I stop briefly and then brush it off and say "So be it." When you let yourself be silenced or your world be changed just to accommodate fear, Evil has won.
As we all walk down the path of life, we can spare a thought here or there for those who can no longer move forward themselves. The only sense to be made out of any of this, is that life is both fragile and beautiful. Fragile because it can be taken away without a moment's notice. Beautiful because it is ours to make as bold as we can dream. So, I say next time you read a headline, seek out a person's story behind the "1 of 12" and say a prayer for them. A human soul is far more great than any number.