The sun is shining through the windows and I can hear the rhythmic thwump, thwump, thwump of tennis balls as they make their way back and forth across the community tennis courts.
I take another sip of my coffee and settle in at my keyboard knowing that I am safe in my quiet suburban Oregon town, far away in Orlando. I am far away from the ocean of grief that surrounds so many who are waking today thousands of miles away and yet, here in my heart. Today, like yesterday, they wake with a hole in their lives, hearts broken, lives shattered. Loved ones who were there just a few days ago are inexplicably gone, taken in a hailstorm of terror and hatred.
I don’t pretend to know the pain that they feel as they begin their day. Some are putting on finishing touches before heading out to Sunday morning church services to gather amongst other believers. Others are remaining in their pajamas curling up in bed and on couches hoping to avoid the day before them as the pain of loss is nearly unbearable.
The pain of loss feels permanent, like it’ll never go away. This week the losses are tremendous, overwhelming. Yet, families in Orlando will get up out of their beds to care for their children, feed the dog, water the garden and they will go about their daily business carrying this heavy weight of sorrow and they will fear that things will never be the same again.
Because they won’t.
Fear tells us that love, kindness, and compassion do not exist in the world in which we live. It tells us that only hate, retribution, and anger exist. It tells us that we cannot change the world. But we do change the world every time we hold space for someone’s pain and create space for love.
We have daily examples of love if only we look. Love doesn’t shout like anger and hate. Love quietly carries on, holding space. Each day, people tend to the homeless, the elderly, and children. They work endless unpaid hours raising money to cure cancer or feed the hungry or march in pride parades across the nation. We have proof that compassion and love exist in this county and all the Donald Trumps and all the hate mongers and all the oppressors cannot erase love from within the human heart.
Today I refuse to allow kindness, compassion, and love to be extinguished in my life.
Love is an action and I choose love.