I kept someone alive this week. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. I sat face to face with someone who planned to end their life because the pain of living was just too unbearable. I called their bluff, even knowing while I did so that person could have reacted violently towards me. I showed up, I was present, I listened, and I cared. I changed the outcome for an individual, which in turn changed the outcome for his fiancé and their families. Small miracles like this are hardly spoken about or recognized in my line of work. Yet in that one magical hour where I KNOW I made a difference, I was connected. That didn’t stop the responsibility I had to the next 3 clients waiting for me. Or the mounds of paperwork and consulting work waiting for me. Or my commitment to my work out class. Or my promised visit to my little brother. Or my duties as a wife and member of my own household. And it didn’t stop the worry I would carry for the next 48 hours wondering if I had done enough, BEEN enough, to keep this person alive. I had to put my miracle in a box in my mind and heart and keep functioning.
I am not black. I did not grow up in an impoverished or dangerous neighborhood. But I am a woman. I know discrimination. I know discomfort, being made to feel uneasy just by how I look or am dressed. I know what it feels like to be quieted or have my opinion devalued because of my anatomy. I know the inherent truth that I likely will never be “allowed” certain jobs or salaries because of this fact, despite the verbalized promises that I am equal. I have felt the skin-crawling danger of walking somewhere on my own without friend or husband to protect me, wondering if my existence in a particular time/place would now cause me bodily harm – and then later be a fact used to blame me for the outcome of my tragedy.
I know both sides. I understand the fear and terror that is fueling the social media rants by both camps. I grieve with the first responders and those sworn to help, serve and protect fellow humans from themselves and others with often thankless outcomes. I know what it’s like to be terrified in your own community, or furious with the blind helplessness that comes with powerlessness.
Yet I have chosen love. I have put my ego down, taken off my physical body constraints, and chosen to respond from within. I choose to believe that we can create and build a world where #feardoesnotwin. I cloak myself with the outpouring of love that I allow into my world and by those who responsibly, calmly and fairly speak in the media.
You have a #choice too. Every day, in your own way. Your #voice and behaviors matter. The example you set for your children and neighbors matter. Tired of the injustices? Go out and make a change – get involved. #Kindness is an unlimited resource; you have no excuse. Angry? Don’t add to the ignorance and spew hate. #Educate yourself. Soothe yourself until you are in a place of balance and can not only express yourself intelligently, but can listen. #Strength does not come with being able to shout over another. It comes with hearing from your #heart, being able to take in another view and respect it despite your own beliefs.
There are no “sides” in this. No one needs to win. I can support police and love my fellow humans of any race or color. I can be angry/scared and hopeful. I can want change and want peace. Both can exist, this is not an either/or scenario. We are not limited in our choices. We have been created with the greatest capacity to infinitely LOVE all. That love is a choice, and the greatest power you have is the strength to choose it.