I don’t usually watch the news. I find that if I turn it on, it’s impossible to turn off. And it’s usually the same thing over and over again. 5 minutes worth of news lasts 3 hours as reporters and anchors tell the same story again and again. It only fuels the fire and causes restless sleep.
I used to love politics. Now my heart is too soft for it. My ability to see multiple sides of an issue makes me worthless in a debate. People are so passionate and I admire them and I used to be them and I get frustrated with myself. I get frustrated because I’m not out there taking a stand. Using my Facebook wall as a launching pad to change the world. Shouting at the top of my lungs.
But I am passionate. It’s just that I’m passionate about people…not necessarily right and wrong. I have morals and values and beliefs about the world and how we should act. My passion used to come from rules that I created based on these beliefs. Screw the rules. I was never very good at following them anyway.
I crawled into bed at 11 last night. I tossed. I turned. Then I gave up and grabbed my phone. Forget Facebook or Twitter, I went straight to my Notes app. And this is what happened next:
We spend most of our lives learning to avoid and escape pain. Hide it. Deny its presence or influence in our lives. But we’re wrong.
Pain. Pain is the great equalizer. I look at my world; both my tiny one and the one at large. I look at it tonight. I see it in the texts I exchange with friends. In the television coverage. In the fires. In my newsfeed. In the voices of the ones I love. Or the lack of voices…at times that’s even worse.
Anger. Violence. Fear. None of it matters. All I see is pain. It destroys me. Pain in every heart. It does not discriminate. It is the essence of the human existence. It’s the one thing that can be guaranteed.
Pain does not discriminate.
And I see it. In every face. Every voice. Every heart.
Please. Please. If we could just see each other’s pain. I believe we could stop. I believe we could love. I believe tomorrow could be different from today.
But we’ve become masters of deception. We deny the existence of pain. So when it floods our lives…our cities…our world…we become broken. As if the world wasn’t broken enough.
And so we watch as lives and buildings crumble. Paralyzed. Until all we have left is the inescapable call to face it. We see our pain reflected in the eyes of those around us.
Don’t look at the fires. Don’t tweet about broken windows and totaled cars. Take off the masks. Look up from your phone. Gaze into the eyes of PEOPLE. And I guarantee you’ll find pain. And you will find yourself in the company of another human. Because all the time you spent avoiding pain left you stranded and alone. But acknowledging it enables you to enter into relationships again.
This is a chance to start over. Tomorrow is a new day. A day to grieve your pain and be blessed by its ability to strip away everything but the simple reality that each of us is human. That each of us has a story. A past. A present. A future. And although we experience pain, we are not commanded to be governed by it. Let it bring us together rather than tear us apart.
There is no us. There is no them.
Tomorrow can be different from today.