I woke up early this morning, walked downstairs, plunked myself on the couch, and sat quietly in a dimly, lit room. The light had an air of murkiness, a dulling, squinting glare mimicking the world’s immense anguish over yesterday’s Las Vegas tragedy. A yellowing air. It was isolating. I felt lost on how to feel. Why am I so out of sync? It didn’t happen to me. It didn’t happen to anyone I knew. Not to my neighbors, cousins, friends, or family. But every part of my body was strained, tired, and mostly, helpless. It happened to someone. It happened to 59 lives that meant something to someone.
I get up, go into the kitchen, aimlessly, pausing, turn around and head into the bathroom, flick the light on and off, several times, stop and think, “Why am I here?” I wander back into the living room, enter back into the kitchen, open the refrigerator two or three times without getting anything out. I have lost all direction of routine. I need to get on some responsive track, but my mind can’t seem to settle. I decide that if I get my miles in this should align myself back into a “things-to-do-today” schedule and focus my thoughts on an up-coming race. Hopefully, this will conjure up feelings of joy. It’s a struggle.
While on the treadmill, pounding out my vexation, I peek out the window and notice that the world moves on with their day: dogs are being walked, the school busses and the swish of cars are moving to and fro, mothers are biking, driving, and rushing their kids to the the start of school, Tuesday’s garbage is being picked up, the sound of construction hammers are playing along, and I am still pounding, pounding, pounding violently on the treadmill. I hear something drop to the floor. I jump off and look around. My St. Sebastian medal, which was sewn to the back of my hat had fallen off and seated itself behind the desk. It had landed on its back-side reading: “Pray for Us.”
The world is at a kilter, unbalanced and has been for quite sometime. Incidents like these commonly summon up the political debate of the second amendment and gun control and somehow, we have taken to blaming and shaming as an honorable platform when, in fact, these forms of conversations create a further divide amongst us. Wasn’t it just last week the celebrated my-side-vs-your-side topic was Colin Kaepernick? I’ve never had political talent. I live off of fate, hope, prayer, and faith. I’m very aware of who I am. I am a romantic. An idealist. I don’t know how to fight this, but I know I want something done! I want to cultivate change by rolling up my sleeves and digging my hands deep into the earth. The shout for the right to “own” and use a gun is loud and prevalent, but where is our right to “feel safe? To BE safe from gun violence?” A recent petition, “Stop Gutting Federal Gun Laws,” is circling and asking for signatures. Of course, I signed it as I have signed many throughout the past years. I’m asking you to sign it too. But I am angry, and I am scared. Nothing seems to be changing. I think to myself, will this John Hancock do anything this time? Change anything? This time? It didn’t change after the 1999 Columbine shooting when 15 lives were stolen, it didn’t change after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting when 32 lives were stolen, it didn’t change after the 2008 NIU shooting when 6 lives were stolen, it didn’t change after the 2012 Aurora, CO shooting when 12 lives were stolen, it didn’t change after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting when 26 lives were stolen, it didn’t change after the 2015 San Bernardino shooting when 16 lives were stolen, and it didn’t change after the 2016 Orlando shooting when 50 lives were stolen. Do you see a pattern? We might as well copy, paste, and repeat because if I just blink this scenario will emerge again. I have lost a bit of hope for change, for signatures. I will continue to sign, but I fear I will continue to feel powerless.
I finished up my miles, got my sweaty self back on the couch, and hearing only the silence of sorrow, I started to cry. My heart is in a twisted, colossal meltdown. I bent down into my face and heaved and bellowed asking the air “Why? How does this repeatedly happen? Why aren’t we praying harder? Loving better?” I have no idea, and I find myself constantly bumbling around waving my arms up in the air feeling like an I-don’t-know emoji. I’m lost in my emotions. I am tethered to my tears. Stephen Paddock, another mind gone wrong, will never give us answers.
I have concluded that this overcast of aimless wallow is a symptom of me being simply – sad. Sad for a loss of human life, sad for the many lives and the web of connectivity they have touched. I am sad for those that have lost their loved ones, and, I am also sad for Stephen and how we were not there for him. I am sad in how we are so vulnerable to life’s illnesses and the capacity it has to drown us. The only thing I can think to do, the only itinerary I can presently log, at this moment, is to pray – for all of us. Because right now, right this second, I don’t know what else to do.