In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting tragedy, many of us—including myself—are left feeling heavy, helpless, and heartbroken.
Thousands of lives were instantly shattered during a horrific act of unimaginable violence against innocent civilians.
I have found myself in the uncomfortable space of not knowing—struggling to find words and unsure of what needs to be done.
I don’t have the answers to the hard questions. I don’t know how to fix the issue of gun control or mental health or our political and social division. I don’t know why someone would direct their hate and anger toward thousands of innocent humans.
I simply don’t know.
I can’t help but see this, too, has our already disconnected country in another chokehold. We can argue about the gunman’s motive, race, political stance, or mental health. We can claim false flags and demand reform with gun control laws. We can be angry, heartbroken, and unsettled. And we should be. Righteous anger is proof there is something wrong. Because, unless you’ve been living under a rock, the truth is no longer hidden—there is something terribly wrong.
The division can be felt everywhere, on every level, and within every circle. I lost 35 Facebook friends overnight because of a thought-provoking article I posted in regards to the NFL controversy. There were no attacks on my character, but somehow the message was lost. My ego was not hurt, but my heart was.
We’ve drifted so far from our commonality in attempts to have our opinions validated that we’ve lost sight of the big picture. We’ve forgotten we learn most from those who disagree with us. It’s time to take the cotton out of our ears and put it in our mouth—liberals and conservatives alike, myself included.
In the midst of the chaos, I guarantee not one person helping the injured thought to ask if they voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton before deciding to guide them to safety. Because it didn’t matter. In that moment, thousands of people—black, white, Democrat, Republican, gay, straight—were one tribe with the same purpose.
These selfless acts of heroism and sacrifice for one another were not done for recognition. As one of my friends, Tracy, so perfectly stated, “You are all incredible heroes. You are humanity. You are the light we so desperately seek.”
It’s as if we are only reminded of our interconnectedness when a crisis strikes. And whether we choose to see it or not, we are at a place as a collective whole that is symbolic of the events that transpired in Las Vegas. We are panicked and full of anxiety. We need help. We don’t need answers as much as we need unity and collaboration. Because that is when the answers will come. Our world is in a debilitating state of upheaval, and we are grasping for straws while playing an endless and trivial game of divide and conquer. There will be no winner.
I don’t have the answers to the world’s problems. I do know compassion and empathy are in high demand. It’s time to put our egos aside and hold the pain of others as sacred as our own. Being open-minded is a muscle that needs flexing in all of us. Let’s work together to raise our words, not our voices.
We have all lost someone, loved someone, and been afraid of something. We all want to feel loved and valued and connected. Anger is a second-hand emotion: a feeling we resort to in order to protect ourselves from vulnerability and pain. Let’s soften our edges. Our beliefs may be different; our impermanence and basic human wants are not. At the end of the day, opinions are not truth; love is.
Whether you believe this violent act was an inside job or not, healing this messy, outside world is. The revolution we’re all waiting for is within each of us.
We are the light we so desperately seek.
Author: Rachel Dehler
Image: YouTube still
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis