Saturday, December 5, 2015
The man who put his arm around his young San Bernardino co-worker, behind the shield of a fallen chair, and said, "I got you." The brother who had the courage to stand before cameras and say, "Like you, I am in shock, I do not understand." The colleagues of the fallen, who have chosen to use their time before CNN cameras to raise up those who lost their lives.
We can be bitter, angry, hopeless in these days of awful violence and crass politics. (I sometimes am.) We can also be people alive, people grateful for the days we have and for the company of each other, people who avoid the quick conclusion, the radical exclusion, the questionable claim. We can be people tapping at the roots of that immeasurable goodness that still offers itself to us, and we can be part of the good.
For the past week I've been talking to someone I deeply love about the question: How do we become who we hope to be? A question preceded by a question: Who do we hope to be? Maybe the answers involve curiosity, engagement, activism. Maybe they involve tipping the balance between receiving and giving. Maybe they involve being more honest and more willing to convey that honesty. Maybe they involve new bravery, less waste, more direct appreciation for the lives we lead.
If anything good can come from the very much bad that blares at us through the news, it is the urgency now incumbent upon us to shake off the fog, yank off the mask, straighten the spine, and fully (but not selfishly) be. To live each day like the gift it is. To do better by ourselves, so that we can do better by us all.