I am so sorry.
I am so sorry that we live in a world where worshipping to your god, in your place of sanctuary, becomes your worst nightmare. Where your loved ones are taken from you. Where you are taken.
I'm so sorry that we live in a world where one person's hatred, pain, and anguish can ripple out with such a reverberating effect.
As I wrote after the tragedy in Sandy Hook in 2012, it can make you want to retreat from this world, to shrink from life, to avoid exposure in order to avoid tragedy. That's definitely how I felt after Las Vegas.
"The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good."
But we just can't.
I know it can be daunting to imagine that any of us can have that much of an impact on the big scale. I so admire my friends and mentors that are trying to tackle the world on the BIG scale.
But... do you remember when I wrote about Bird by Bird?
We need to embrace this life bird by bird, person by person, moment by moment. That's the small-scale way we can impact this world. Every one of us, in every moment... we can choose to do good, to love good.
I turn to Mary Oliver on mornings that leave me feeling like I could just float away forever. She always reminds me to love. Today, I re-read this one:
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
And if your spirit
carries within it
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver © Mary Oliver
Every morning the world is created again. Every morning the sun rises, whether we can see it through the clouds or not.
Today, I dare to pray.
I'm not praying to a god. I'm praying to all of us. I'm daring to pray that we wake up each day and find the sun. I'm daring to pray that we see each bird by beautiful bird. I'm daring to pray that we choose love over hatred in every single interaction. To remember that "there is still somewhere deep within you a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted"?
How can you awaken your beast, the one that loves this world so deeply, and actively choose that love today?