It happened again. I woke up and checked my phone to see nothing but heart shattering news. An indescribable, unimaginable nightmare. The next few days nothing else reaches our TV screens besides those innocent lives taken in the Las Vegas shooting. 58 innocent, beautiful lives. May their families and this world find peace and healing through this tragedy.
I am 22 years old and this headline has crept its way into our lives one too many times: Sandy Hook. 9/11. Charleston. Aurora. San Bernardino. Ft. Hood. Virginia Tech. Columbine. Orlando. Las Vegas. These headlines are plastered across our screens and we are overwhelmed with madness, disgust, sadness, confusion, and helplessness. Despite all this darkness, we must not lose hope. We must realize we are surrounded by greatness everyday. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our own lives, but don’t forget to stop and enjoy the vast beauty surrounding you. Don’t forget to stop and be the hope someone needs today. In all this madness, I have realized how short this beautiful journey really is. Before I knew it I blinked and in a couple months I will be a college graduate.
We are only promised a certain amount of trips around the sun so make the most of every day. Squeeze your mom a little tighter next time you hug her. Remind your siblings how much they’ve shaped you into the person you’ve become today. Thank your dad for always being your best friend, even when you made it difficult. Love harder and don’t be afraid to show it. Our time here is too short to hold on to anything but love. There are times we want to spew with anger rather than to find forgiveness. There are times we have our backs against the wall with nothing left to give, but still we fight. Why? Because anger, resentment, sadness, all of it has no right to make a home in your heart. You fight back. You have become resilient. You have chosen to choose love time and time again because after all- how can you give to others when you have an empty heart? Fill your heart with love and this will spew out into all facets of your life.
This world may seem like a dark place sometimes, but I see the light shine brighter than hate everyday. I know you see it, too. Like those brave, courageous individuals who shielded others from the bullets. Like our first responders who charged into the madness to help those innocent, beautiful souls. Like my best friend, who hopes to touch the lives of children as a Pediatric Oncology Nurse. Like my teammates, who constantly love and encourage me to be the best version of myself on and off the course. I know you all see this magic in your lives everyday, too. I pray you still spread all this love, despite the heart wrenching news of Las Vegas. Please, don’t lose hope.
No matter our race, religion, political affiliations, income, or personal beliefs, we are all human beings. We all must come together. We all must love one another that much harder. It is up to us to ensure our children have a safe and loving world to venture into. This cannot happen unless we start having open conversations, instead of debating with one another. There is a difference. This cannot happen unless we choose to embrace the differences that make us who we are. Every interaction, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant, can teach you something about life and love. Don’t ignore this. Choose to stand up for what you believe in and choose love time and time again. Choose to be the light we need in this world. Choose to live free and love fearlessly. Choose to be a good human.
And when you start to lose hope, sit and reflect on the wonderful blessings in your life because they are everywhere and never forget:
Love is everywhere. Love heals. Love conquers all.
All my love,
P.S. When I am at a loss for words, I turn to music. I had no idea how to respond to this unfathomable tragedy so I listened to Maren Morris’ new song, Dear Hate. Give it a listen: