“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~ Mother Teresa
I don’t want to talk about why three assailants decided to take innocent lives today at a facility that supports people with developmental disabilities.
I don’t want to talk about their motives. I don’t want to talk about their age, gender, race, religious beliefs or upbringing.
I don’t want to talk about why it was done last week or the week before that and, the week before that and so many countless times before that. I don’t want to talk about the idea that it will happen again.
I don’t want to talk about the politics of it all either. I don’t want to talk about a war that will soon be underway due to mass consensus by leaders of developed nations. I don’t want to talk about all the wars that have been going on either. I don’t want to talk about what we should have learned from history or rather, the history of wars.
I don’t want to talk about all the human lives that will be squandered yet again across the world.
Here’s the one thing I do want to talk about: What are we doing to each other?
Can we please take a few seconds to consider this question? Can we try to feel this question in the embers of our being, every cell and, perhaps, in the deep recesses of our weary, tarnished and lost souls?
The question found me as I decided to lay on my cold, hardwood floor when all I really wanted to do was fall to my knees and wail into the skies. I stared listlessly at the ceiling, legs facing two large windows letting in the city bustle and replaying a conversation I had with a friend who wanted to talk about something positive instead. I complied then. I am not too sure how long I can stay there.
You see, I want to know at what juncture in our short appearance on this planet did we corrode our fine minds and cement shut our boundless hearts to believe we are somehow separate, divided? How have we removed the elementary principle that any of these acts are not just acts against each other but toward ourselves?
I am a first time auntie to my five-month old nephew; baby Dexter is the most precious creature I have ever laid eyes on and has a smile that the ladies will swoon over. And, I can’t help but wonder: How are we affecting our children and creating a generation born in an unsinkable wealth of progress when it comes to technology, education, travel or opportunities but are on a well-paved path to a legacy of a fractured and distorted display of what it means to be human?
How have we made it commonplace to make words like, “active shooter” a part of daily vernacular that a vast majority of us have somehow desensitized ourselves and would prefer to talk about something positive instead? At what point did we fall numb to having an honest conversation about gun reform and holding elected officials accountable for their misguided decisions rooted in fear, which we all know will impact us or someone we love, eventually.
I am not sure where the solutions lie but I do hope we will try this: whenever we step out our doors and as best as we can with each encounter, let’s meet anything we consider an infraction from anybody else as our own. Let’s try seeing their pain as our own. And, their joys and defeats not separate from ours.
Perhaps we try this for a day and then a few more days, until it gradually becomes ingrained in us as a way of being. In the least, we’ll cast a sliver of hope to see oneness in all our kindred human souls; one day and one person at a time.
A lavender-vanilla scented candle burns in its glass jar on my desk. I am shrouded in this familiar darkness, which is a bit of a ritual and helps me show up on page with heart. While every morsel of my being is ensnared mercilessly in its ferocious grip tonight, I have hope and believe that the flicker of a single flame will gently illuminate us.
Tired and burning yet, I know: we belong to each other.
Author: Neelam Tewar
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Z S/Flickr