Note: This is not a post furthering an agenda. Unless that agenda is “Try not to be evil.”
I’m sure most people know about the Orlando shooting by now. I didn’t until just this morning because I tend to avoid news outside of what pops up uninvited on Facebook while I am talking to friends on chat. I had just discovered the brilliant workaround of placing a napkin over the fb news box when I started chatting with my pal Merbear. First we discussed our emotional states (meh) and how to scramble eggs properly (I cannot even accomplish this) and what we were currently eating (Me: waffles. Her: An English muffin with sausage and cheese – just in case you were wondering). She had just written a post on the tragedy, and was more than a little bummed that our world seems to be going straight to Hades.
“It’s simple, evil exists.” she said. “How do we fight evil? How?”
I’ve had difficulty writing lately. It’s hard to see outside of a sad pony, and often you turn inward. My plan was to try to pull out a post for my daughters’, because Thing Two just had a birthday on the 10th (12 years old?) and Thing One will turn 16 (16 years old?????) on the 17th. Then I realized that even with the depressing subject matter, I could do both. Mer mentioned that she wouldn’t want to bring children into this world now. I agreed, but then I thought of my own kids who are here now. I felt badly for them, for all the violence and hatred that they have faced, and will face. But then I remembered that they are the answer on how to fight evil. You fight evil with good, and hope, and love. I know, I don’t normally talk like I’m farting out skittles (as Merry would say), but it is the truth.
The other day we were driving and a man stood on the corner with a sign. As usual I tried not to make eye contact. I never know what to do in that situation. It’s kind of dangerous to just hand out money to someone while you’re driving – you might get hit by someone. Plus I wonder if it will do any good at all. One dollar? Five dollars? I don’t know. But when I looked behind me I saw that Thing One had her hands grasped in prayer. I thought it was because I’d just called her, in a friendly type way, a little twit for something. But no, she was praying for the man. Because, as she said, he’d asked for prayers.
No fanfare. No look at me I’m praying! I’d have never noticed if I hadn’t looked back. Sure, you might say, it’s just a prayer. She didn’t go out and invite the homeless person into our car so we could get him a room at the Hilton with a free breakfast. But she did do something that too many Americans aren’t doing enough of today. She took a few minutes out to think about someone else’s misfortune. Her sister is equally sincere in her empathy for others, often challenging those who bully others. I try to be a good mom, but that’s not all me. A lot of that is just who they are. And it is those values that will give them hope to keep going, to keep offering kindness, and to make a difference in this world.
And they, thankfully, are not the only ones. A line of people formed around a blood donation bank early the next morning. This was symbolic not only of thinking of others, but of doing something about it. They were giving blood for the blood lost. It will be too late for the 50 victims of this tragedy, but not for the many injured people today, and those who may sadly be shot tomorrow. As John Oliver says, “The terrorists are vastly outnumbered.” I’ll show you a clip, because he says this all better than I do.
I saw much discussion in the comment sections of articles on Facebook. As usual, many have turned to politics. Either wanting to take guns or have more guns or complaining about the agenda to have guns or not have guns, or just blaming it all on Obama like they do the mayonnaise shortage at your local Subway. Certainly the fact that it was a gay club, and the terrorist was Islamic played into the response in places. But that – as I stated above – is not what I’m getting into right now, although I easily could (and have). It’s about the basic question: How do we fight evil? Hint: It’s not in a political argument on Facebook.
It’s in thinking of others. It’s in doing for others. It’s in following the greatest commandment no matter what your faith: Love one another. Even if all you do is buy a coke for one person feeling down (you don’t have to buy a coke for the entire world), you did something. You made a difference. We all make a difference, all the time, with our words and actions. For good or for bad, we make a difference. Let’s try to make the right difference. Here’s just a few more examples of what people have done for the victims in Orlando, Florida, from the Orange County sheriff’s office.
We thank the legions of supporters who are reaching out to the Orlando community!!
As the investigation remains active and open in the horrific Pulse nightclub mass shooting, here are some resources and links available to the public.
•Orlando officials are identifying the victims and notifying their families. The names of the victims will be added to this link: http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victim….
•The Department of Veterans Affairs is providing emergency mental health assistance to Veterans, employees, and the general public in wake of the mass shooting. An Orlando VA Medical Center Mobile Medical Unit is located at the Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Ave, Orlando, 32801, or call 321-277-6672.
• Blood donations — OneBlood has reached capacity for blood donations, so no further donations are immediately needed. However, anyone interested in making an appointment to donate in the near future can go to oneblood.org/donate-now/ or call 1.888.9Donate.
•Funds for victims and families — Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page at Gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund.
I wish my beautiful daughters good luck in the future. It may look dim now, but they will add brightness. Because they are my Things. They are my antidote to despair. They are my reason for hope. I love them both, and wish them a happy birthday.
Of all the Disney princesses, I think I can most identify with Sleeping Beauty. I happen to be a champion sleeper as well – at least during the day. Night is another thing altogether. I’m also fairly certain that were I to touch a spindle and try to make wool, I’d definitely prick myself and possibly fall over dead (or pretend to) because I’m not much into spinning. It sounds like way too much work.
I think there’s a little more to this story than the spindle and narcolepsy, though. I’ve come to see it as a reflection of depression in creative people. Yeah, okay, bear with me and I’ll explain. You remember when Aurora (that’s Sleeping Beauty’s name btw) is a baby and those fairies came to bestow gifts upon her? There was the bossy one with the stick up her hiney, the flighty stupid one, and the chubby feisty one. And then there was the one who wasn’t invited to the party.
You know, you’d think when the king and queen were making out invitations, they’d have considered that. Like, hmm, I’ll invite Lord Frances and Maid Mildred and uh oh hmm what about the psycho fairy with all that evil power and the bad temper? Nooo, I don’t want her around. Maybe she won’t notice if we leave her off the guest list. She’s always been so REASONABLE before.
People in fairy tales are stupid. But nevermind that. Back to the gift giving ceremony. See these fairies come to give gifts to the princess, stuff like beauty and singing ability, so that if the princess thing doesn’t work out, she can still make a killing on American Idol. I’m not sure if without these gifts the princess would be ugly and tone deaf, or if they just perform enhancements, like extreme princess makeovers.
Anyway, I believe most of us are given gifts at birth. Maybe they’re not readily apparent gifts, but everyone has something they’re good at. Even evil people are pretty good at being evil. You have to give those dictators props on that one.
I know I was given gifts at birth. And I can imagine it going something like this.
First fairy comes up and swings her wand and says “I give Alice the gift of artsy fartsy! She will be able to draw well and impress everyone but art judges!” Then the second fairy steps up and whaps me with the wand and says “I give Alice the gift of writing which she can use to get two useless degrees and a blog!” And then the third fairy steps up, all prepared to give me something like the gift of total hotness, and that’s when the evil fairy my parents didn’t invite shows up. Way to go, Mom and Dad.
Evil fairy appears in a ball of fire (she likes to make an entrance) and cackles “I curse Alice with depression, so that no matter how good she is at art and writing, she will only be able to do it about half the time and she will mostly just want to sit around and whine!” It goes without saying that I really, really hate this fairy, and I do wish she’d quit visiting so many people.
But lo, there was one fairy left, right, the one who was going to give me something useful like being a total hottie, and she says “Well, you’ll still have depression, but I’ll give you these drugs that will sort of work part of the time. And I’ll give you a counselor. And I’ll give you family and friends. And I’ll even give you – a blog! Ta-da!”
Yeah, thanks a freaking lot, good fairy. I mean, yes, I guess it’s something. The fairy offered hope, and without that, none of the other gifts matter one bit. But still – I wonder why do people get this stuff? I know there is a genetic component but – why? Only pure evil would bestow such a gift on any child. For you can get through anything, even the worst diseases, the greatest tragedies, with hope. But depression seeks to rob you of that hope, for the evil fairy is more powerful than that good fairy. Which is why you must rely on those gifts, however weak they may seem.
We all have gifts, be it art, or music, or writing, or even just meaning something to somebody else. And we have to try to use those gifts, even when that evil fairy is staring down at us in dragon form, prepared to blow us away. The most important gift of all comes from the third fairy – the chubby, snarky fairy who did her best to counteract the curse. Use that fairy’s gifts – use your friends, drugs, counseling, whatever the heck works for you in order to stay awake. Do not be like Sleeping Beauty. Do not let the evil put you to sleep. There is no prince in this story.