My mind has been swirling after the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I've shared many moments with friends who have little kids and the chill that creeps down their spine also sends shivers down mine. Despite having no children of my own yet, imagining that anything might happen to my nieces and nephews is more than I can bear and over the past several days, it has brought me literally to my knees, grateful that my precious ones are safe. Then my mind attempts to wrap itself around what those parents, family, and friends who were affected by the shooting might be experiencing and it's more than I can handle.
That being said, while it’s easy to fixate on the heinousness of the crime, the violence, and the anger, I refuse to sit in that space for long. I believe that the only way to heal from this kind of tragedy is to choose love and grace. Now this isn’t some warm and fuzzy suggestion for our country to just ignore the situation. I actually think it takes an unfathomable amount of courage and bravery to choose love when fear and anger are very tempting and persuasive options. I also think it’s too easy to obsess over the problem and not be resourceful enough to brainstorm solutions. Some people don’t believe change is possible and while everyone’s voice matters, I vehemently disagree.
Sitting in bed early one morning, I was watching ESPN with my boyfriend. Among the many sports highlights was Pat Kelsey, the head football coach for Winthrop University, giving a press conference. He recognized that playing the number four ranked team in the country with all eyes on him and his team gave him a very powerful microphone, but rather than discuss strategy, he talked about the gratefulness of going home and kissing his two baby girls when there were 20 families out there who didn't have that luxury. He talked about our responsibility and opportunity as a country to come together, the necessity for us all to step up to the plate, and the importance of realizing that we are agents of change.
My jaw was on the ground or at least on my pillow. Here was a man who was making his voice matter and even if I was the only person watching ESPN (yeah, right), his message impacted and inspired me. I think too often we invalidate or diminish the impact we have on those around us, whether it be on a big scale or a teeny-tiny one. My challenge to you is to remember that you have more power than you think, so do something with it. Rather than perpetuate the fear running rampant in our country, be a source of love in your everyday interactions with people. Hold the door for someone at Starbucks or smile at a stranger. If it’s posting an inspiring quote on Facebook, tweeting out love for the families who have lost loved ones or staying in bed an extra 15 minutes to snuggle with someone special; our country has never needed as much compassion as we do right now.
Love casts out all fear, so let’s be agents of love. Let these precious angels be remembered and may their precious lives inspire us to live ours better. On behalf of the entire I AM THAT GIRL team and community, my heart and prayers go out to those who have lost. We’re all in this together and I hope we are able to lesson the burden with the invisible love tsunami we're sending to Newtown.
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