I’m a very fortunate human. Although life has thrown a few curve-balls, it has been more good than “bad” so far. I live in Utah, so I’m far enough inland to be protected from hurricanes and Tsunamis; I’m surrounded by amazing mountains, so we very rarely have tornadoes (there have been two in my lifetime – and that was weird, because before that it had been 150 years! No lives lost, thank God!). It’s predicted that the “Big” earthquake will hit “soon”, but they’ve been saying that for as long as I can remember. I don’t doubt the science, I’m just not convinced that it will happen in my lifetime. And I’m not going to live afraid of it. We have done what we can to prepare, and life goes on.
I haven’t had a television since 2010. I’m not inundated with bad news 24/7, but I stay educated and up to date. I love the internet.
One of my best friends recently moved to Orlando with his job, so when Irma hit, I got video updates through Facebook. As much as I love the rain, I have decided that a video on Facebook is as close as I care to come to a hurricane.
Mr Rogers said that his mom told him to “always look for the helpers”. As Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, and then Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, I did just that. As I prayed, I watched rescuers of all races, colors, shapes and sizes rescuing people of all races, colors, shapes and sizes. I didn’t see one person take a second look. Black, white, Hispanic, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Disabled, LGBTQP; if someone needed help, they got help. Period. As it should be. And it made me wonder…
Why does it take a natural disaster or a terrorist attack to bring people together?
When (whatever kind of) disaster strikes, people band together. Through the crisis, EVERYONE is a person who MATTERS. People are rescued, pets are rescued (without regard to breed!), and lives are saved. Everyone is equal during those moments, and everyone mourns together, as one, in the event that lives are lost. Those who pray will do so, and those who do not will hope for the best. We donate possessions, money and time to assist in the rebuilding of structures and lives. In these times, WE ARE ONE.
Why can’t we be like that all the time?
No matter one’s beliefs of creation, we all come from the same place. Whether we are created from a loving God, or begin as a cell in the ocean, or whatever one’s belief about how we got here, surely that belief demands that ALL LIFE was created this way. The things we’re taught, the experiences we have and the influences around us all shape the individual that we become, but each of us begins and ends the same.
I am short, but my countenance is high. I am white, but my DNA spans the globe. I have a disability, but it does not have me. I am heterosexual, but I acknowledge a beautiful woman when I see one. I am a Christian, but do not subscribe to a particular religion. These are DESCRIPTORS of me; they are not who I am. I am human. Others present as black, Hispanic, Oriental, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, LGBTQ (etc) and on and on. Whatever a person’s physical makeup, we all begin and end in the same place. NO ONE is better – or worse – than another.
I know what you’re thinking: What about the “Bad Guys”? It’s probably not a surprise that I have thoughts on that, too: The way a person behaves is, I believe, directly related to one of the three things mentioned above. The things they’re taught, their own experiences and/or the influences around them. I’m not a Mental Health expert, so I’m not going to get into that, but this also may play a part in a person’s perception of what is being taught them, the way they experience the world, and the influences that they allow into their lives. We have all heard the story of the serial killer who had everything; money, education, parents who were involved and raised them “right”, and still they chose to leave the “Path”.
Having a child who suffered at the hands of not one, but two of these types of people, I understand the anger, and yes, even the hatred that can be felt towards them. Maybe that’s why I feel somewhat qualified to write and share this post. I know first-hand what it’s like to wish someone would “just go away”, in whichever fashion God saw fit to take them.
Eight years later, I won’t say that I’ve forgiven them. What I WILL say is that these were two INDIVIDUALS who thought they could do whatever they wanted. One was a 35 year old woman, and the other an 18 year old repeatedly accused (but not previously convicted) sexual predator. Both are now convicted, registered sex offenders because THIS Mama Bear believes in justice.
What now? Do I hate all 35 year old women? Do I hate all snot-nosed 18 year olds? Having been a 35 year old woman myself, and raising two children up to and beyond the age of 18, that seems impractical. Besides, when I did hate these two individuals, it took away from who *I* was. It didn’t hurt either of them one little bit; but it robbed me of the ability to love and grow. Every time their names were mentioned, I was in a rage. Instantly. I don’t hate anybody, but I hated them. I was frustrated with the police for moving too slowly, angry about the short sentences (and early release for “good behavior” – seriously?), the judge and the prosecutor in the second case for not allowing my daughter to speak…and where did it get me? Angry. That is all.
My point is that, while there are “bad guys” who wish and commit the worst acts of violence on others, and while I agree that they should not be allowed to do so, there is no “specific group” of people who hurt others. I am fortunate to have worked with all of the aforementioned races and religions. None whom I have ever known would dream of hurting others. Welp. That blows that stereotype! Guess I can’t hate anyone. And look! As I type this, there’s not even a hurricane coming to Utah. 😉
What I’m saying, in short, is that we should treat each other every day as well as we treat each other in times of crisis. Being different is a GOOD thing. Other points of view and experiences are IMPORTANT for the growth of the planet, and for each of us as Human Beings.
Like that big earthquake, I refuse to live in fear that someone will hurt me because they come from a different background. As I said: in the beginning – and the end – we’re all the same. Let’s live the middle that way, too!
All the love,