We are Coming Together instead of Coming Undone
I watched with tears this week about the seven innocent men that aren’t with us anymore and felt sick thinking about their families while watching their worst moments being broadcast live.
We all struggled watching bad decisions being acted out, men taking their last breaths and witnessing the emotions that followed. We watched someone’s life ending yet it seemed clear from the images that it shouldn’t have happened.
Everything was so unimaginable. I forced myself to imagine how it would be to wake up one morning not knowing that I would die that day and about how much I take for granted. I thought about what I was doing yesterday at lunchtime. I was sitting at a restaurant having lunch with my daughter and her friend. We were laughing, eating and talking about the movie we’d be seeing later that night, positive that we’d be seeing it simply because we had bought the tickets. When the victims woke that day, surely they believed they’d be going back to bed that night, like we all assume every day. But during the course of a day, suddenly they weren’t thinking anything. Their ability to go to a movie, go to work, sit with family and visit friends disappeared as they lost the freedom to take a breath.
One man had just dealt with a pesky homeless man who happened to have a phone and called 911 to report him. And a man that was responsible for making sure that children were fed each day in their school cafeteria didn't know that his fate would be decided by a broken tail light.
Those deaths then created change in the lives and deaths of five other innocent men. Men who weren't wearing protective gear because they were working a peaceful protest and they trusted the crowds on this. They didn’t die because they weren’t wearing their gear, they died because of hate and pain and bad decisions.
I always try to find the silver lining in everything to better understand the why, and right now it's everywhere. There’s an outpouring of love on social media, a tribute that we feel for them and their families and that we are with them through this. We know that they were men who were loved with families and friends and we want them to know that we offer our support and love. There’s anger, but overwhelmingly there’s love and people pleading for peace and acceptance and coming together. The storm of response is showing that today and tomorrow, there is more love in the world because of it. It’s created more connection and softened so many hearts.
When tragedies occur, people from all over the globe voice their support and concern and care for the families. But even so, what is the silver lining for the loved ones?
Philando Castile, the manager of a school cafeteria, had his girlfriend and her young daughter with him in the car when he was killed. The video his girlfriend recorded after he was shot is hard to watch, but there’s a tiny glimmer of light near the end of the video. She stays calm for most of the recording but she starts to panic near the end because she’s been removed from being with her wounded boyfriend and has no idea if he’s okay. Her four-year-old daughter is off camera sitting next to her in the backseat of a patrol car. As her mom becomes more and more upset, you can hear the little girl speaking softly.
“It’s okay. I’m right here with you.”
That glimmer of light came from a little girl who was sitting in the back of a patrol car for no reason, and who had just witnessed a police officer shoot her mom’s friend, and was now watching her mother become unglued.
The families might not ever find their silver lining, but maybe we can be the silver lining for them. We can take what a four-year-old daughter said to her mom in a time of panic and say it to them and to each another: I’m here with you, I’m here for you.
We are all here together, whether we like it or not, and I know we can do better than this.
No one should have to be sad and afraid because their skin is dark. We all have skin, eyes, hearts, blood, bones, souls and families that would miss us if we were gone tomorrow.
Never mind embracing and being more open to our differences. We need to recognize and embrace our similarities.
We can’t sit back and shake our heads. We have to say yes, we are one and we are all in this together.
I normally pass on the news, but today I’m passing on the love because of the news. These tragedies are the reason to reach out to do better and to be better. All of our tears collectively can turn into rivers of love that will run through our streets and homes and hearts and remind us that we are all silver linings.
xo Katherine www.backtobeingawoman.com