Love. Healing. Prayers. Thoughts.
To the families, victims, the LGBTQ community, the Muslim community, the Orlando community, the Latino community, the dance-club-going community, the mental health community, the pro-gun and anti-gun community, and the American community. (Who am I missing?)
A recent NPR story recognized that this tragedy isn't easy to "categorize" because of its many facets. Is any tragedy "easy to categorize"?
No. Every tragedy has facets. There are many stories to be told.
But while the media and the law are figuring that out (or not) what can I do?
I offer five actionable suggestions:
1. Donate blood.
This is a gift we all can give and is much needed, especially in times of massive human causalities. We live in our bodies and our bodies create life. Donating blood is relatively painless, takes only a few hours (if that) out of one day, and is action. And, in many areas, there are mobile blood donation centers that can come to your place of home or work. Click the link above for more info on donating blood through the Red Cross and learn more about locations in your area and organizing blood drives.
2. Donate Time & Talent
We all have certain gifts and talents in which we excel. We live in a diverse world where it's important to have many people with diverse skills. Perhaps you're an amazing cook, but you only cook at home. Could you cook for a Meals on Wheels service in your area or volunteer at a local shelter once a month? Maybe you're an awesome carpenter. Could you donate your time and services to rebuilding homes? Maybe you're an awesome doctor, lawyer, teacher, or friend? Could you partner with a local non-profit to share your talents? I understand that we all need to make a sustainable living, but sharing our time and talents without expectation on a return is an unconditional gift we can each give to our communities.
3. Donate money.
I don't have a link here because both of the previous links have financial donation opportunities, as do most non-profit organizations. Google "Donate to..." and list your favorite non-profit, including (but not limited to) institutions of higher learning, health care, art, and government organizations.
4. Y(our) vote counts!
(even if you didn't vote...) Your local and state representatives are hired (elected) with the job description that they REPRESENT YOU (ME, US)! Does your HR person or boss let you know when you've done something that doesn't align with the company? (TOTALLY!) Let y(our) representatives know when they're not - and when they are - doing their jobs! Write, call, and annoy your government. One voice is one vote. We are allowed, by constitutional right, to be heard.
Find your House Representative
Find your Senator
Find your Governor
5. "Find your happy"
I borrow this saying from my mother-in-law. It refers to the moment(s) when we can let go of anger and hurt in order to move on and rebuild in a positive emotional, psychological, and physical place. Tragedies like the mass shooting in Orlando (the ongoing sexual assaults on college campuses, racial tensions, military suicides, PTSD, personal loss, grief...) create a social consciousness of hurt and fear, which in turn can create systemic violence. By finding our "happy", even a moment, we produce an energy of joy. Like a pebble in the water, that small amount of joy or happiness can have a large effect. I believe that happiness, joy, and love are more contagious than hate, despair, and evil. All of these are powerful energies, but I do believe that "the greatest of these is love" ~1 Corinthians 13:13.
There are many ways to do "love" - real, honest, non-judgmental, LOVE.
What can you do? How are you doing LOVE?