It takes but a cursory glance through the news from the last year to see the reasons why my heart bleeds right now. I see the atrocities that we commit against ourselves, against the world, and in the name of the Divine. I grieve these things. I am in anguish for more reasons than the horror and repulsion I feel at the evil that humanity has done.
I do not use the term evil lightly but these things, these slayings, they are evil. The denial of the humanity of our fellow humans as they seek to escape the ongoing campaign of evil and terror perpetrated by Daesh and other monsters of their ilk is no less evil than what these poor people flee. Oh, if I had but the voice of the raging storm and the ability to command this to stop. I would do so as quickly as I could if it were in my power because this must stop. Turning the world into an abattoir is not what we should do.
I look at the news articles that talk about mass murders and I remember Columbine. I remember the day I talked a classmate on the school bus out of bringing in their father’s rifle and shooting the students who had been harassing them (and the staff who turned a blind eye to that harassment). I remember the way ignorant peers of mine hailed the murders at Columbine as ‘cool’ and something that ‘needs to happen here.’ At that time, I was in college, but the kids I knew (who were technically part of my cohort if you go by the different descriptions of generations) praised the incident. I was horrified and sickened by it.
When I see news about violence about people in the LGBT+ community, I find my blood runs cold. Matthew Shepard was just a bare year older than I was when he died. People who are close and dear to my heart have suffered harassment and threats to their life and liberty because of who they are and whom they love. I spent most of my life with my sexuality in conflict because it simply wasn’t safe to be openly bisexual where I grew up. The mass murder in Orlando did more than break my heart. It moved me to literal tears because at a different time in my life, under different circumstances, I could have been one of the people at that club. Be it with a friend, a family member, or just on my own.
The bombardment of images from young African-American men (predominantly) dying due to maltreatment from law enforcement makes me feel physically ill and frightened. I have friends who could die simply because they are the wrong color. Philando Castile made that clear. He did all the things he was supposed to. He was a law abiding citizen and a pillar of his community. Yet he was gunned down like a rabid dog. Even worse, this was done in a setting where if a bullet ricochet, his child and girlfriend could have died. It makes me want to weep, scream, break things, and hide in terror.
I could continue my list of reasons why I grieve right now. I know that my grief does not rectify the atrocities done. I know that my grief is a thing of privilege in many cases. Looking at me on the street, I seem a hippy-ish white woman of the middle class. I am college educated and I live what appears to be a fairly standard hetero-normative life, complete with 2 children. If I could somehow move all who are disenfranchised to a place where their merely inconvenienced for not fitting the ‘mold’ I would do so in a New York minute. If I could somehow end the injustice that runs rampant around the world, I would.
I know, however, that is not the way of the world. Midgard is not a place of ‘perfection’ and my vision of that ephemeral concept is not the same as anyone else’s. Indeed, part of the chaos of this world comes from a great many people trying to impose their vision of what is correct on the world and all of them fighting over who is right. I would ask that there be justice for they who have been wronged, but I do not trust the government of any nation to bring that to pass. Offering up thoughts and prayers is such a shallow expression in the face of all of this horror.
Especially if that is all you have done. You might as well expect liking some meme is going to cure cancer. Prayer must be supported by deeds. It is not our words that prove our measure. It is our deeds. I grieve. I pray for justice to be done. I pray for they who grieve to be comforted and midwifed through the process into a place of health on the other side of mourning. I pray for they who are as terrified as I am, if not more so, that they may be both given the strength to continue on despite their terror and to have respite from it.
And, I do what little good I can to push back against this tide of evil in the world. I make hats for preemies. I do them in memory of the dead. I teach my children to be kind and gentle to all life, except for when it it necessary not to be and then how to conduct themselves ethically when they must not tread a gentle path. I pour out offerings for the dead and speak to them in the hopes that I will bring them some comfort in the abruptness of their passage from this life. And I write.
Mostly, right now, I grieve and struggle with despair.