This past week multiple tragedies struck across our country. Just this morning, we learned that 50 people were murdered and another 53 wounded as a gunman executed the largest killing spree in US history. This heinous hate crime changed the demeanor of our entire nation this morning.

On the night before last, a well-renowned and highly influential musical artist was murdered in the same city as the before mentioned tragedy. This young woman was a bright light to millions of followers, and was needlessly killed while signing autographs after a show.

My dad called me yesterday and informed me of two deaths that occurred Friday evening as well. Both people were close friends to my family.

And earlier in the week I learned on social media of the passing of an acquaintance of mine who was a very well known person in the fitness and strength worlds. Chris Moore was one of the main 4 personalities on the Barbell Shrugged podcast, and he also had his own podcast called the Barbell Buddha, which was also his nickname. He too had a social reach numbering into the millions.

Chris was much more than an influential podcaster. He was a husband and father to two beautiful children, he was an amazing friend to those around him, and he was an influencer to all he encountered. I only had the privilege of hanging out with Chris on 3 occasions, because of my coach and friend Travis Mash. I remember sitting next to Chris at a dinner table in a house in Miami listening intently to him as he talked. Later that evening I walked out to the pool where he was enjoying some solitude and lap swimming, to let him know that the crew was starting up the podcast. He was gracious even though I was clearly interrupting his time of solitude.

When I learned of his passing, I was in shock. I texted Travis almost immediately, fumbling through words and wondering how I could be supportive. I had to leave the training I was at for some solitude because I was having a hard time processing with all my coworkers around me. The next morning I cried. I don’t deal well with death- usually I come across as not being too impacted by death when really I just don’t know how to cope or grieve. This was different. Chris was doing amazing things. I had just listened to him cry through a podcast explaining his plans and sharing his gratitude.

This has been one of my first real “WHY GOD?!?!” moments. I’m supposed to be a spiritual leader, and I’ve had no words and no good way of handling this- which I feel is crazy because Chris wasn’t a close friend. But that’s just how impactful he was as a human. Who he was impacted me in a serious way. We did not share all the same philosophies, but I learned so much from him, and he challenged me to change myself for the better- both for me and for my family.

All of this tragedy made me think of a small article I wrote and submitted to Chris as soon as the BBS crew launched the Barbell Daily. I remember trying to think like Chris as I wrote this. I probably failed in that regard, but the thoughts I wrote out on my iPad ring true in light of all these situations. We are all connected, for better or for worse. We all play a role in the bigger picture. So check this out…

Connecting the dots.

“There’s a form of art called Pointillism which consists of using dots of differing colors to produce an image. The artist uses single dots of pure color to create patterns which will, in turn, be recognized as an image by the individual viewing the work. A couple notable artists who used this method were Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh.

I believe that our lives are like those dots, and the communities we live in represent groups of dots which make patterns recognizable.

Every dot is crucial to the larger piece of art. Likewise, we all play a crucial part in the lives of everyone we connect with throughout our time here on earth.

Our connections are important. As we make connections we create patterns of action and influence that then begin to play out into global patterns. And just like the works of art, the viewer perceives specific images based upon how these connections (patterns) of dots are put together.

In essence, we are both the artist and the dot, having some control in how and where we place ourselves as well as with whom we connect. It should come as no surprise, though, when we find ourselves in the same space as other people who are like us (other dots of that same pure color). However, it is those dots the end up close to dots of other colors in other patterns that help create distinction within the work. Without those dots (or individuals) there may be too much space between the patterns, making the overall image unrecognizable to the viewer. This is why each dot is important to the overall work. And it is why each individual is important in the grander scheme of life. Everyone has a role to play, and through connections we end up shaping our world and painting a picture to be viewed by the onlookers of our lives.”

While I pray for the Moore family and for everyone involved in the other unimaginable tragedies that struck this week, I also have to ask myself what I am to do- because words are great, and prayers are important, but when our hearts are stirred we must then act and be a part of the healing.

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