Six Feet Deep

Every generation must go through something like this, the feeling of "Our world is so messed up." Because when you look through history, well, humans have left a pretty big footprint on the home planet. And today I'm thinking that there's a whole lot of doggy-doody stuck between the ridges. Sorry, I don't mean to offend any dogs.

This has been an extra-horrifying week in many places around the globe, and my heart goes out to all affected. Which should be every last one of us, really. When inhumanity strikes at humanity, it ripples across all of us. Some people instantly want to strike back, protect, and stop all possibility of similar attacks. Some blame whole groups of people who had nothing to do with the choices made and actions carried out. Others want to spread love and hope through kind words and positive actions. Some feel lost, hopeless, confused, or scared. Some are grieving. Some are opening their hearts and homes to strangers. Some are talking to their children, trying to explain how we can live in a world where this kind of trauma happens, while others are trying to shield their offspring so they remain oblivious.

We all have different feelings and beliefs about the correct way of handling these events. I don't know the right way. I only know "my" way.

I look for the glimmers of light, of strength. I cling to the stories of people helping and supporting each other. I feel hopeful that many people are so down-right GOOD. But then I read comments on the news threads, and get mad. I try to shake it off, but underneath I seethe. If we're going to be close-minded and turn on people of certain religions or ethnicities, aren't we becoming our own form of terrorists? Humans who would turn against humanity due to fear, hatred, and distrust? How does this help? Isn't this what we're all reeling from in the first place?

Since I don't like the negative power of anger, I sneak some of my kids' Halloween candy for fortification and search out my happy: I get my children. We look through pictures of places around the world where people are shining lights for France. We talk about how strangers are becoming united. We talk about our freedoms and our choices. We talk about how every person is a human, capable of greatness. Capable of destruction. It doesn't matter about skin color or religion. Where we're born, what language we speak, who our ancestors are. How long we've been living where we live. It doesn't matter if someone is different from us. What does matter? How we treat our neighbors, our teachers, our classmates .... The strangers we come across. The people in our lives. Each other. Ourselves. We are all individuals. In order to make it simpler for my kids, I give an example: Just because we might have one stinky interaction with a librarian doesn't mean all librarians are mean. Can we judge one librarian based on the actions of a librarian at a different branch? No. So a group of terrorists does not represent the whole of a people. It just doesn't. They are simply individuals making choices. Really, really bad choices.

Hopefully, all of this talking will help my kids sort out who they are and what type of people they want to become. What they want to stand for. How open they are willing to be. These thoughts have to begin somewhere. Because if we don't start learning, across the whole big, wide world, that people are people and all our lives matter, then the footprint we're leaving might as well be six feet deep.