This weekend was a busy one, and, personally, a great one. But, I was so wrapped up in my bubble that I didn’t have time to think through what the hell is going on in this world. And it seems every other week I struggle to reconcile the things I see and hear around the world with the world I wish to live in. While I struggle to find the words to describe how much I am saddened by what I see, I am reminded of my 10th-grade history teacher speaking of a Chinese curse and blessing… “may we live in interesting times.” I can now say I have lived to see the double side of that adage.
But the times we are living in, they’re not just interesting, they’re heavy. What I see when I look around, and the ache in my heart is not a millennial thing, it’s not a political thing; it’s a human thing. It is a response to seeing people — even loved ones — be so blinded by dogma, status quo, and ego that they cannot see the dangerous road they’re blind faith is taking them down, and the ripple that has. As I see people hide behind labels to excuse behavior, beliefs, and intentions that value one human over another I cannot be idle.
There is always room in my heart and life for my sisters and brothers of every color, creed, and orientation — there is nothing that can deter my belief that we are better together. No religion, color, or sexual orientation is better or more deserving than another — we are all deserving of a future that is free from oppression. Yet, there are too many of us who still live with a daily struggle to free themselves of the institutional oppression that imprisons some of us and not others. To not see this happening is a personal choice — the evidence is all around.
But while the status quo works counter to the beliefs I have, I see a crack in its foundation. I look around and see that while hate is becoming bolder so are the voices who oppose it. Actions of hate are regularly challenged by those of love and peace. I still wake up every day with the goal of being the very best I can be, and I know that one person can make a difference. I have seen it. It starts with committing to make yourself right and living your truth. You cannot change others, but you can change yourself and how you respond to the things that challenge you. There is more power in that than in anything or anyone else in this world.
But, as I lay awake at night thinking about my daughter and the long life ahead of her, I struggle to quell the gut-wrenching terror. I am terrified she and her peers will be unable to reap the blessings in the Chinese proverb and I am uncertain of what challenges that the curse will bring…
What comforts me in these dark hours are the faces of the people I have come to surround myself with. My daughter will be raised in a community full of people of every beautiful shade this world has to offer, who speak different languages, have walked different paths, pray differently, love differently, and most importantly are so beautifully flawed that they’re perfect. So, as I work through my fears, I know that no matter what comes, we — all of us — will be empowered and more capable of creating a better world for our next generation and at least not relive the atrocities of the past. But more importantly, to live a life filled with color, community, abundance, and love. Because at the end of the day we have the power to create the world we want to live in.
If you have read this and cannot understand what the hell I am talking about, I challenge you to talk to someone who doesn’t look like you every day and permit yourself to be open to new experiences. You deserve a life free from the oppression you unknowingly create for yourself. “Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger. Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.” -H.G. Wells