The picture is the Orlando Ferris Wheel as it was lit up when the Equal Marriage Ruling was passed.
I am heartsick at the mass killing in Orlando. My heart breaks for the families, the friends, the survivors, and those who died in such terror. We still have so far to go.
And it reminds me that you can know the heart of any group by the degree to which they hate or are unable to tolerate difference. No matter what they call themselves — whatever religious label, terrorist group they want to claim, or voices they hear in their heads — people who hate and who hate on this level all belong to the very same group. It has no glory, no pride, no reverence for life, no reverence at all, no wholeness, wholesomeness, or health. They carry within them a soul-deep sickness, an inability to see beauty, dignity, or worth in themselves and others, they have been broken and twisted, and they externalize their brokenness — project it onto others and they murder in hopes of feeling purified. The ideology, religious label, terrorist group, voice in the head is simply the flimsy justification for a wanton, faithless action.
I am angry, I am grieving, I am praying that everyone who holds such hatred inside asks themselves if, perhaps, they are forfeiting their souls, their faith, their possibility for love and hope — asks themselves if they are on a slippery slope.
I pray that everyone affected by this atrocity, this act of wanton killing, even as the waves of grief crash against them, will stand taller, prouder and continue to be willing to be heroes of love.
It does take courage — a kind of heroism — to be LGBTQ — even in these days. Looking at the pictures of the people holding one another, and hearing the statements from survivors that they will not be twisted by this — I am inspired. Certainly, the least I can do is be a voice for love — not a valentine’s day love — but the love that knows compassion, that dwells in mercy, that protects the innocent, that demands healing, fairness, sense, accountability, and calls bulls*#t out.
One thing that, by accident, the shooter demonstrated, is that our oppressions and liberations are all connected. As people at a small gathering read aloud the names of those who have died, that have been published so far, the melodious Spanish names clearly connected the Hispanic community with the LGBTQ community. As we hear the hatred and vitriol of public figures against Muslims, we can recognize that, in fact, any marginalization of people leads to more and more marginalization, more alienation, more violence.
And love acts in the reverse — increasing itself with every act of love — freedom — with every act of liberation — courage — with every act of risk.
This is our time to act for love, for liberation, and with and for courage. It can be hard to do this when the waves of grief crash against you. Give yourself time for the genuine grieving over your love, family member, child….. but don’t wait for the perfect time — when the shaking of your hands and heart stops, when you feel perfectly confident, when you feel safe. And for those of us whose hearts are broken in solidarity and not from a direct personal loss, this is the time. There is no such time — there is only the doing, learning, growing, doing learning, and growing. In part this is true — because the resources we need are here hidden within and between us. Every act of love, liberation, and courage — loosens the scar tissue and reveals the mighty spirit within and between us.
I turned to one of my wise guides (through books). Jon Kabat-Zinn
“No matter how many scars we carry from what we have gone through and suffered in the past, our intrinsic wholeness is still here: what else contains the scars? None of us has to be a helpless victim of what was done to us or what was not done for us in the past, nor do we have to be helpless in the face of what we may be suffering now. We are also what was present before the scarring—our original wholeness, what was born whole. And we can reconnect with that intrinsic wholeness at any time, because its very nature is that it is always present. It is who we truly are.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn,
― Jon Kabat-Zinn,