I took time this week in order to at least try to process what was happening before speaking. The most violent mass shooting in our nation’s history- I felt numbed by it. I looked at it, in front of my face on the news, but I could not react.
What was there to say?
How have I come to a place, reflective of so many of us, when words fail? I wondered where they had gone, and what precisely had hidden them. The non-reactive moment affected me deeply.
And so I began asking myself many why’s to try to unravel responses and become, in essence, active. I felt stunned, then sad, then helpless but I realized I had yet to have one important feeling, one that kept getting shut down on social media and in discussion. A feeling so misunderstood that its potential as a catalyst for change is so often mistaken for something wrong. Something unwelcome.
Anger, that feeling we fear, the closest cousin in the emotional venn diagram to “HATE.”
When I tried to find out what had happened, I saw immediate remarks of prayers and thoughts and love. Moments of silence. And prayers and thoughts. Prayers and thoughts. Love and prayers and thoughts and silence.
These in and of themselves are not bad things. They show a visual support, the beginning of awareness. But this remains just that- awareness. When we throw “L-O-V-E” into the air, where does it land? Does it impact? How? Whom?
Its impact can no longer be silence.
I struggled with my own shock but subtle recognition that we were walking down the same path of simple awareness we had so many times before. So many times when children were dying, when everyday people enjoying life were stopped in the name of HATE.
And I thought about those specific words, and how we misunderstand them, and the ripples of this impact in our understanding of life, and our understanding of death.
LOVE ANGER HATE
Do we recognize a structure of healing that we are supporting or are we throwing words out in frustration that this has happened once again? Healing is an adjective, and reflects a change in the overall state of an injury. S/He is healing. Where are our good thoughts going exactly? Do they help the healing process reach completion? We need to hold up a mirror. We are missing the bridge that allows thoughts to become active happenings- the bridge that gets our bodies to the blood banks, gets our voices to the senate.
That bridge is ANGER. Do not fear it.
Ask yourself why has this happened again. Really, why? What is that word encompassing here, “why?” Have we looked, deeply, at the role we play in these situations?
We cannot be passive, we cannot wait, we cannot watch again and again as innocent people die.
LOVE and HATE. Each nonexistent without the other. Many of the words I saw professed a desire to teach love, but how can I understand hot if I do not understand cold? How can I know of love if I cannot know OF hate? But the difference between active hate and the act of hate is where we are failing and where we do not recognize that an awareness of an evil does not perpetuate it. It necessitates action to stop it. It necessitates ANGER.
Do not fear it.
It is possible to feel anger, to allow it to permeate your being and not be led to either feel or act out hate. Anger is not a bad thing, it is the spine of love, holding it together- each affected deeply by the other’s presence. It was not anger that picked up the AR-15 and killed those 50 people. That was hate. Hate killed scores of people while waiting with bated breath for a “re”-“action” that would not come from us. When we do not understand the difference between hate and anger, we do not know how to react to hate. We fail to move forward in an active way and continue to throw out words that lack an understanding of any kind of equilibrium. That lack a genuine understanding of LOVE.
LOVE is active. Don’t just say love, DO love. BE it, ACT it and know that to do that encompasses emotions outside of those four letters.
To know love is to know anger, but to know both is not to have felt or feel hate. Those who hate have lost sight of love, shut if off in order to eliminate any real logic. To misunderstand the potential of anger. To kill.
But do not let their hate go unchecked, don’t let it move forward to hurt others. Allow yourself to be angry about this- you owe these people that much. We owe them that much. If you love them, allow anger to sustain that love, to make it come out in the world through your voice and your actions. And don’t be afraid to ask questions that make you feel anger:
Is it upsetting that a common citizen is able to own a weapon that can kill scores of people because we refuse to forfeit the right to the potential to kill in order to protect those who could be killed?
Yes. Is it true? Yes.
Is it wrong that many have tried to pretend this wasn’t a targeted act of hatred, enabled by the fear of others that is perpetuated through silence?
Yes. Is it true? Yes.
Is it upsetting that we must still ask ourselves these questions?
YES. IS IT TRUE? YES.
Our brothers and sisters are dying. We cannot just throw words into the air and inwardly think good thoughts towards their families. Do not just think, say. Do not just pray, do. Understand your rights as a person of LOVE to feel ANGER and allow it to illustrate your love by actively engaging in ways that can stop the potential of active HATE.
Know the responsibility of your anger.
Below please find resources to contact your local Senate regarding violence and hate crimes:
Here is a list of a number of organizations and charities set up to specifically help in Orlando: