I continue to pray for the victims and their families, but also the perpetrators. If they had felt love and acceptance, maybe we would be in a better place. I cannot change what has transpired, but I can change the hate in my heart when I feel wronged or I don’t get my way.
At my work building, I had an affinity for one of our security guards. He was a loner, so I made a point to greet him with a big hug every time I saw him. “Richard!” I lit up, “How was your weekend?” Or “Where were you last week? I missed you.”
One day, he excitedly told me he had gotten a new job working one of the big high rises a few blocks away. I told him how I proud I was of him, but that him leaving would be a huge loss for our building. He confided, “You always been nice to me. No one else like that here. They could care less if I go, but you…you always care. You’re the only one I’ll miss when I leave.”
I blushed because I did truly care for him. He was a ray of sunshine I got to experience when I came to work in the mornings. I wish I’d known his building address because I’d certainly visit him.
But I relay this story to point out that I don’t care for everyone. I pick and choose my favorites. What if, instead, I could practice kindness towards everyone? Not just people who are nice to me. I’ve discussed before that I have huge issues with laziness or sub-par work ethic. It literally makes my blood boil. But I’ve been working on my temper when it comes to this. I ponder, what is this trying to teach me? How can I be more Christ-like? More zen, more chill? What behaviors do I want to model for my son?
We read a book to Franco called ‘Little Monkey Calms Down,’ an excellent demonstration of techniques you can use if you are angry: cuddle with your blankie, take a deep breath, sing a song… It’s so cute because he will run up and grab his blanket when we get to that page. Or exaggerate his breathing.
I read about these tragedies and I start to become numb. I feel helpless. But peace starts with me. I can strive to be a better person who projects warmth and kindness. I can be a role model for the next generation, by exhibiting good behavior in front of my son. I can teach him to love others, to foster diverse relationships and to learn from situations where he feels misunderstood or angry.
Transformation is possible within ourselves and in the world.