This year has been a year of marching. We marched in the Women’s March. We marched for environmental justice. We will soon be marching for pride. And this weekend we marched for life – to put the lives of the many over the rights of guns. I know this may sound inflammatory. It’s not my intention.
There were two profound things that I’ve discovered along the route that I want to share. Both I’m sure many will object to. But I hope you might see if we can find some common ground.
First, I discovered a sense of peace. I’ve spent the last year keeping up on the news. The rate that things have been changing lately has left me feeling anxious, to say the least. What used to happen in a month now seems to be happening in a day. And it can feel like the world is spinning out of control.
But a group of kids from Parkland reminded me of something different. They reminded me there are lots of reasons to be hopeful. Even when we feel like the world is spinning out of control, our connection to each other is what pulls us up and out of the chaos. And so marching with students and teachers and grandmothers, people who don’t have kids and people who do, it reminded me that we’re are all in this together. And there is so much to be hopeful about.
Second, I discovered a sense of compassion. I have to admit, I’ve never understand people who don’t want simple gun control like background checks. And I’ve never understood why people need to have automatic weapons to defend their homes. I still don’t understand the thinking behind this. But I do understand the fear.
We live in a world that is filled with daily blasts of fear. Every news show and headline is a reminder that the government may run out of money, someone may take away your rights and we are headed to a war tomorrow. These headlines scare me senseless somedays. And I can understand why the best option can seem like gathering up a bunch of weapons and hiding in your house for the rest of your life. It’s nothing short of terrifying.
In the middle of fear, we close down. We seek to defend. We don’t see a complex world with smart, compassionate people. We simply see us and them. We see the people who want to take the guns and the people who want to let us keep them.
Students all over the country are living with that same kind of fear. They are afraid for their lives that someone will come in and attack their schools. That there will be more lost lives. And, if history is any indication, they are sadly right. They have a lot to be afraid of.
I don’t have answers. I don’t want to make the people on the other side of the political aisle a foe. I know everyone just wants to live in a world where we feel safe. And I’m convinced that I live in a world filled with enough smart, compassionate people capable of opening up to new ideas and new ways of beings that change is possible – and
that hope is breaking through.