There are days I feel like the world is just a string of senseless tragedies. Some far away, others just down the street. When you empathize without knowing what you can actually *do* to make this world better, to help this world to heal, it can be a constant exercise in frustration and hopelessness and insomnia. There are so many problems. So much pain. So much hate. My heart goes out, I grieve silently and rage silently.
When tragedies occur that we cannot comprehend, we look at life through a different lens, at least for a while. It’s hard to take seriously the unimportant drivel deemed “news” when the Big Bad is looming. I don’t begrudge people for needing distractions in this world. Numbing the mind is a time-tested coping mechanism. I get it. I do it. I funnel my frustration and outrage into something I can see. I more intently cling to my family and love on my dogs. I crank the music and make soup and rearrange the furniture and essentially hermit up from the outside world, wishing I could keep us there.
And then I crack the door when I remember everyone else I love on the outside, and become re-fueled by anger, that these tragedies can touch everyone and destroy for varying stretches of time- make us forget- the good in the world.
A dear friend and I were talking about this the other day – both of us very much bleeding hearts – tired of hearing about problems we cannot only not fix, but even begin to understand. What do we do? What will be done if everyone feels like us – that change is out of our hands? If not people like us, who?
I cannot begin to understand the fear a black man may feel when confronted by the police, nor the fear a police officer must feel as he or she does their job each day. I don’t know what it’s like to be gay, where simply being true to yourself incites disgust and rage in complete strangers. However, I assume the experiences by those different than me are real, and true, and equally valid to my own. This, I believe, is all that is meant by checking your privilege.
Like most of the world, I’m all too often grieving and wanting justice for those I don’t know, in my own way. I’m sorry, to all those lives cut short, to all those grieving families and friends. To those the system has failed, and those who were unfairly punished for sins of those who looked (or wore uniforms) like them. Those with an underlying fear they could be the next statistic or hashtag.
Please everyone, let’s stop this.