to this regularly scheduled program…..*****READ WITH CAUTION, as my words are blunt*****
I danced my whole life. As a kid, I spent many hours in a dance studio. As an adult I took salsa classes in studios and then later, I took and taught ZUMBA fitness in dance studios. So many of my memories of where I was happiest, fulfilled, fit, free are of moments in dance studios.
When I woke up yesterday morning to hear of the heinous murders in a dance studio I was broken. There is no place that is safe. We can not go to the mall, parades, concerts, the movies, places of prayer, schools and feel safe. At drugstores….sinus medicine and whitening strips are all locked up. Home Depot now has copper wire locked up. Nowhere is safe. Nowhere is it like it used to be.
And yet, and yet……God forbid a woman finds that she wants/needs to terminate a pregnancy due to emotional/physical/financial issues. And yet, and yet…..God forbid an LGBTQ person wants to hire someone to handle a portion of their wedding, but that person is anti gay marriage. And yet, and yet…..in Chicago, if you commit a crime and are caught, bail is not required if you can not afford it. You are just set free…or, even better, in Chicago the police have no rights to chase you if you have, or are thought to have, committed a crime. Criminals can cry foul, and get off. The police, while not all great, should not have their hands tied in collecting criminals.
Where are our priorities? We would rather sell guns, not stop criminals, allow religion to prevent us from doing business with another human, and lock our products up? We would rather cater to the criminal, or the cruel, then support the average upstanding citizen?
Are you kidding me?
If you are a parent, and your kid breaks a house rule…what happens if you do not punish them? What happens if instead you limit the rights of their siblings and let the offending child just move along? THERE WOULD BE AN UPRISING.
WHY are all of us that try to live good and clean lives being penalized? Why are our lives at risk? Why do we not feel safe anywhere anymore? Why no matter where I go now, must I have an eye on the exits and be paying attention to those around me?
Why is religion so often coming in the middle of how we conduct ourselves? Do you think Jesus, or God would not want us to follow some of the most basic tenants of Christianity and Judaism? Love thy neighbor? Thou shalt not kill? Thou shalt not steal? Thou shalt not bear false witness to thy neighbor? How can we use religion as a basis to not treat someone respectfully, or to do the right thing, when so many religions begin with these very basic beliefs?
If we live by religion, we need to live by religion. Human kind. Right there are the words. Be kind to humans.
Why is it more important to have gun rights, the ability to purchase guns, that have the ability to kill strangers and loved ones…and yet, and yet…..a woman does not have the right to be truly responsible for her very own body?
We talk more and more about mental health. We are more understanding of mental illness, depression, anxiety, addictions, self harm…and yet, and yet……with all of this acceptance and open conversation, we are hurting strangers and our loved ones at alarming rates. We steal more and more…petty theft and corporate theft. We storm our government buildings. We tell people more and more how they should conduct their lives, instead of accepting them for what they believe, even if it does not align with our beliefs. We are willing and able to support our neighbor if they say they have anxiety, but not if their religion or political beliefs aren’t like ours? Maybe this is exactly what is causing all of the anxiety.
No matter what side of the political fence we stand, none of us is doing a great job in leading by example. We might talk the talk, but are we walking the walk? During election season, some of my liberal friends are just as comfortable making statements and assumptions about our more conservative neighbors. We profess to being open to others, but in reality we do not really listen, or try and figure out why so many are leaning conservative. There is a reason. I am not suggesting that by listening we are open to changing our opinions…I am merely suggesting that listening and really hearing, and having our hearts and minds open, will help us close so much of this chasm.
When my daughter was little she could have such tremendous melt downs. I just didn’t understand. And, no matter what I was doing, they did not subside. One day I sat on the sofa in tears…was my kid going to end up in Juvie? And in that moment I realized I needed to change in order for her to change. It didn’t mean I let her get away with bad choices, I just had to approach her differently, in order for her to hear me and be able to process my words. It didn’t mean she had to change how she was feeling or thinking. Nor did I.
Just like we want for ourselves, the ability to believe in what we want, and to live and love the way we choose, we must then in turn accept and welcome that same opportunity for others. When we truly love our neighbors, our neighbors will in turn, love us back. OR NOT. That is out of our control. We do NOT have to agree on everything, or love everyone….as long as we respect one another.
AND EACH OF US MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE. REALLY HEAR WHAT IS BEING SAID. REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT EACH OF US JUST WANTS THE BEST FOR OURSELVES AND OUR LVOED ONES…and, how we get there is different for everyone.
Kindness. Understanding. Patience. People all over are hurting. And, we MUST try and help. It is our duty as humankind.
But, here I sit shaking my head. My heart so sad. My brain numb. Since I started writing this yesterday, another tragedy in Half Moon Bay happened. And another in Iowa. WHEN will this stop? WHEN we will feel safe? WHEN will be able to go about our days without panic in our hearts? When will be able to dance, and sing and go to school without fear?
Technology. AI. Electric cars. Information at our fingertips. Packages delivered within hours of our ordering. THESE THINGS DO NOT MATTER. Love, kindness, understanding, rules with repercussions, safety, being able to afford food for our families….these things matter.
With a broken heart, I wish you all much love,