It's "What I'm Loving Wednesday", but I'm going to go off-page a little bit this week. Rather than listing all the things I'm loving today, I'm going to just talk a bit about love and what it means to me.
Like many others, I woke to the disturbing news Sunday morning of another mass shooting in the United States, this time in Orlando. It came on the heels of the sad story of a young former contestant on the The Voice, Christina Grimmie, being shot at one of her shows by a deranged fan, just the night before, in the exact same city. While gun violence and mass shootings have become too common-place in our society over the past 15 years, this one on Sunday morning stood out as being much worse. This one was the biggest in US history. It is devastating on many levels, first for the sheer number of innocent lives lost: 49 people. 49 innocent people. Then, there's the fact that it happened at a gay nightclub. So a certain group of people, a group of "different" people, appear to have been the primary target. And then, there are the claims that the lone gunman had pledged his allegiance to ISIS before going on his attack, and that brings in the terrorism side of things.
So much hatred. So much anger. So much pain and fear and sadness caused by one person's horrifying actions.
I keep thinking about those people who were out for a fun night of dancing. I love to dance. I've never been to a gay nightclub in Orlando, but I can imagine the vibe. There would be drinks flowing and smiles and a dance floor that was completely alive with energy and love.
Nobody goes out for a fun night on the town expecting to become the victim of a mass shooting, or a terrorist's plot. They wouldn't have been expecting it in the least. Countless lives were shattered in those shocking moments when one man, so filled with hate and anger, decided to open fire.
I don't understand what has to happen to a person to bring them there...to bring them to that point. I do know what it feels like to be angry. I know how it feels to be frustrated and to not understand something. I know how it feels to disagree with another's point of view.
But I also know how it feels to love. And in the end, for me, the love always wins out.
I suppose I'm cut from a very simple "live and let live" cloth. While I don't necessarily understand other's ways of living that are different from my own, and I don't necessarily share other's opinions on a wide variety of matters, I just want everyone to be happy and at peace. I think that feeling is shared by many of us. Just because we don't always agree, and just because we don't always understand, doesn't give us permission to take radical actions.
The colour of a person's skin, their sexual orientation, their religious or political views... what difference does it make? We are all just human beings, traveling our own paths, trying to do our best.
And yet, there is evil in this world. No matter how many of us are working towards living simply, with love and patience and understanding in our hearts, there has always been - and likely, always will be - the forces of evil among us.
I feel fortunate to live in a small community, in a country with more strict gun control laws, and away from that scary "big wide world" where these bad things happen. I know that it can happen anywhere at any time, yet I feel more shielded and safe here. I'm surrounded by a family, friends and a community that show every day the true meaning of love and compassion. We don't always live peacefully, we don't always understand each other, and we certainly don't always agree, but I feel that truly, deep down inside, we have love for our families, our friends, and our neighbours, and no matter what happens, we will be there for one another.
I think Jimmy Fallon said it best in his monologue Monday night when he reminded his audience that this was one bad guy - 49 good people, and just one bad guy.
Good always outnumbers evil.
Be good to one another. Try to be as understanding as you can. When you don't agree, then just agree to disagree. We can't all think the same and have the same feelings and have the same thoughts.
We are all different people, on different paths, following the beat of our own drummers.
But we can all make the decision to let love guide us.
It will never lead you astray.