I left Portland early on Friday December 14th, 2012 on a plane. I spent most of the day thinking about what my new (first) niece will look like when she's born, how it will feel to hold her for the first time. I spent the rest of the time sleeping off months of hard work with little to no break. I read. I dreamed.
When I stepped off the plane, this is what I saw:
A simple, unassuming, unpretentious installation---a Norfolk International airport reminder about what life, at its very core, is really about. I snapped some photos of it, felt all warm inside, and went on to dinner with my wonderful mother and father in-law.
Reluctant to interrupt my rap about how good life is, they finally found a moment to tell me what had happened on the ground when I was in the air that day.
In an instant, typical thoughts about tragedy and devastation raced through my mind but halted abruptly on this one: The families... my GOD, the families.
This question keeps pounding on my head: how can we help??? We can hold the families in our hearts, pray for them, embrace them, make it known that we are here for them. There are countless things this country needs to do. That takes all of us. But the only unequivocal thing we can do right now is take a good hard look at ourselves.
In the end, love is it. It's all we've got. And we have to ask ourselves if we're living a life filled with it. How are we treating others? Even in the most insignificant of settings: buying coffee, selling coffee, waiting in line, passing a neighbor, crossing the street...how are we brushing up against our fellow human beings (these beautiful-complex things we get to interact with everyday)? How are we treating our loved ones? With respect and honor, kindness and love? My goodness, I hope so.
I will fight to be as kind, patient, understanding, and loving as I possibly can be, to learn from my mistakes and build up. I will try to smile when I'm passing you on the street, offer my hand if you need it, maybe a hug, warmth, definitely some laughter.
In the wake of this unfathomable tragedy and as we search for answers and solutions, let's vow to pull it the _____ together. Life is too short to consider anything else.
Paul McCartney wrote for the song, "The End," by the Beatles:
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
I grew up hearing it on repeat and I couldn't agree more.
Let's take that love and do some good with it. Perhaps, just give it right back.
***Song of the Moment: Go To Hell, by Raphael Saadiq***