Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando: Live Like It's Your Last Ten Minutes

I have waited to say much on my own behalf regarding what has happened at Pulse in Orlando. I had no words in the beginning [those who know me know this to be a huge abnormality] and what feeble words I had seemed to fall woefully short on every front. All I really felt qualified to do was share information and the posts of others on my FB page in an attempt to help from where I was. And I felt helpless.

So I waited. I waited and watched the horror unfold as the number of dead and injured rose, as the commentary, memes and chatter gobbled up my newsfeed on Facebook, read the opinions of gay haters, gay lovers, the indifferent, the horrified, the agenda pushers, the peacemakers, the Christians, the Christian haters, the left, the right, the middle grounders, the young, the old, the educated and the not so educated. And it made my head spin.

I count many in the gay community among my genuine friends, people whom I love. [If this offends you as a Christian I am ok with that. No need to let me know. I don’t care, just keeping it real.]  I am watching the gay community hurt, trying to process such violent acts of hatred against them because they are gay and too, because they are Americans. And my heart hurts.

In the end, I am left with this. An inexcusable act of violence, terrorism and hate was perpetrated against gay Americans on American soil. I do not believe it will be the last but for 50 people at Pulse this week, it is the last act of terrorism they will experience on this earth. What if their families, acquaintances and friends could have those 50 people back for ten minutes? Would they love them or debate gun control? Would they hold them tight or push them away over petty disagreements over political affiliation? Would they pray for them if they felt they were wrong in some areas of their lives or verbally beat them down? I ask this because in this age, Pulse can be any of us at any given time. How are you treating others?  How do you think those who lost someone in this tragedy feels about their last chance to interact with their lost one?

Newsflash, none of us are exempt from the bullets and bombs of madmen, not the heterosexuals, not the Christians, the atheists, the LGBQT, the religiously apathetic, the do-gooders, the do-badders, the children, the educated, the ignorant, city folks, country folks, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the women, the old, the young and the concealed weapons carriers. [Did I leave anyone out?] We are all under advisement that we are targets because we are NOT a part of radical Islam and this has been NO secret for quite some time. [9-11-01 anyone?] So I do not believe this is the last time that this will happen to us as Americans in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I cannot change nor stop a terrorist but I can change me. I can love harder, seek peace as much as I can, express myself verbally and in writing with respect to differing views and lifestyles, build a bridge when it would be easier to walk away, find common ground with others rather than focus on where we disagree, and above all, as cliché as it sounds, be the change I want to see in the world and not point fingers at everyone else for the world going to hell in a handbasket. If we all spent half as much time working on ourselves and how we treat others as we do pointing out what others need to change/fix/do away with, the world would see immediate change in record time. If you do not agree with someone in your life, treat them with love, kindness and respect anyway. Even if they do not extend that same courtesy to you. Spend your time productively changing what you have control over, which in the end only happens to be YOU. We are not promised tomorrow and how you treated someone the last time you saw them might be the only chance you ever have to treat them any way at all. 

Are you ok with the last ten minutes you spent with your kids? Your spouse? Your family? Your parents? Your friends? Neighbors? Co-workers? If not, look at Orlando and make it right. Reconcile where you can and agree to disagree on the rest, The friends and families of 50 people in Orlando do not have this precious chance. Don't waste it.