After last night’s events in Nice, France, my mind is a-swirl. A friend of mine from Sydney has been traveling through Europe on a fabulous vacation, and happened to be staying in Nice when this happened. Luckily, he’d not been on the Promenade that night, though he had been the two nights before. His gracious host, knowing there’d be around 20,000 people there to celebrate Bastille Day steered my friend clear of the Promenade last night, instead leading him to a night in Cannes to change it up.
In my friend’s words when he posted an Instagram photo of his gracious host posed with him against a beautiful sunset background in Cannes, he said, “I can’t imagine what some people went through last night. Because of Christian, I didn’t have to and I feel very lucky to have met him.” He utilized a feature on Facebook known as “mark safe”, and over 230 people liked it. His loved ones saw he was OK. Huge sigh of relief. For some.
Also in my swirling thoughts is how one of the cops killed in Dallas last week, Patrick Zamarripa, survived 3 tours in Iraq, only to be gunned down with 4 other officers that day. He was marked safe (maybe not literally on Facebook, but figuratively) on each one of those life-changing, and potentially life-ending, journeys previously. He couldn’t be marked safe that time.
A friend of a friend was one of those killed in the Orlando night club. Another friend of a friend was in the Istanbul airport on the day of the attack there.
Can anyone of really ever be marked safe, though? One of my favorite quotes about life involves looking both ways before you cross the street, only to get hit by the airplane you never saw coming. Is it luck, when one makes it through while another’s number is up? Is it fate?
I have no idea what the hell is going on with the world right now. I’ve seen jokes in tweets about how it feels like the 5th season of our show, and the writers are going nuts to keep everyone interested… or how as a country we shouldn’t date any president, and just spend some time with ourselves for a little while. But I am a citizen of this world, and regardless of where it happens, hate crimes and acts of terror hit home to me every time. Someone lost a husband, a wife, a child, a sibling, a friend, with every wretched occurrence.
A hostage situation and standoff in a Sydney café, an attack at the Brussels airport, Paris, a night club in Orlando, Bangladesh, Istanbul, Nice… countless others. Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Muhammed Ali, Zika virus, all the stupid things that come out of Donald Trump’s mouth. It’s all too much, 2016. Shit is getting real, if it wasn’t already real before. It just keeps hitting, and hitting closer and closer to home. I feel like if David Bowie was still alive, he’d pull this face again, seeing the state of the world he left behind:
The next time it could be any of us. It could be any event, in any city. Regardless of race, gender, orientation, religion… we don’t know what will happen next. All of humanity is the target these days. That doesn’t scare me, though.
If it scared me, then the terrorists would win. They can’t crush the human spirit. They want us to not be able to live our lives freely, lovingly, and happily. It breaks my heart, because I just want to see my gays married, my people in pain stoned, my community educated, and a world that doesn’t always seem so bad.
How close does it have to get to each of us before it crosses our personal threshold of too much? Do the bombs need to drop directly over our heads for us to wake up and do something about it? With the release of Pokemon Go, I’ve lost all faith in humanity to look up from their phone in time to not fall off a cliff or crash their cars. Wake up, people.
I love this saying:
We need left wing and right wing to work together if we’re going to fly. It’s so frustrating, being a relatively peaceful person, to know this is happening more and more frequently. I do what I can to put a little more love in the world, but even I get tired. I get sad. It all seems futile, yet I still get up every day and try to make those around me smile. I’m never going to be enough.
One day, my number will be up. No amount of marking myself safe on Facebook will save me. No one can ever be permanently marked safe. While my reality may diverge from the plan, anything could happen at any time along my continuum. The only thing I can do is be me, and keep going, until I don’t keep going anymore.
It can be hard to keep going, when we see what is happening to the world. With every passing day, a new story emerges, killing us a little inside as our brothers and sisters continue to needlessly perish. It already is too much, and it can be too overwhelming to keep going. Don’t get paralyzed. Don’t stop thinking, feeling, reaching out, caring, trying. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself at a time when my heart hurts as an empath and a feeler. So maybe you could stand to hear it, too.
Don’t give up. Keep going. Keep being you. Don’t be afraid.