Where do we go from here?

I was just going to post on FB, but I figured this may be a more appropriate place to say everything right now. A novel of a post is a little more socially acceptable on one’s blog, right?

So if you’ve looked at any form of news or social media today, you know that it’s a dark day for us. For all of us. My heart is heavy tonight.

I have so much to say, but at the same time, I’m at a loss for words. Many of my friends have told me that I have a way with words and I’m thankful that from time to time I have said something in just the right way that it helped or brought comfort but today, I’m just not sure.

I’m so sorry….I’m sorry for the victims and their families. I’m sorry for the officers and their families. I’m sorry for those who witnessed these horrific scenes. I’m sorry that many people feel that they are under attack right now. I’m sorry that some people are being judged by the color of their skin or their chosen career. I’m sorry that so many people are living in fear right now.

I could, and I kind of want to, rant my thoughts and feelings about each incident that has happened, but I think it is best that I don’t. I think at this point the best thing I can do is share a piece of a conversation I had with a friend today. In case you didn’t already know, I’m white. My friend I was speaking with is black. We have so much in common in life, from our hearing losses that we each struggle with, to our adorable kiddos who we can’t stop posting photos of. I told her that one of the only things keeping me together today is my belief in the idea that there are more people out there like her and I who choose to see the humanity and the spirit in people…who see the value in others and what we can teach each other and learn from each other as opposed to putting everyone into an “us” and “them” classification. She said she wants to believe that there are more people who want unity instead of division.

It’s that hope that we need to hold on to now and we need to find others who have it as well, and as a community of people, we need to cultivate and harvest that. We need to take action and show each other and the world that we are all human. Prayer is not enough. Signs are not enough. Blogs and FB posts are NOT ENOUGH!

But you know what is? YOU! YOU are enough! You matter! Your life matters, so go do something good with it! Find a way to help bridge the divide. If you’re not sure how, tell me and I will help you find an avenue to explore to help bridge the gaps in humanity. It may have to do with race, socioeconomics, sexual orientation, whatever….it doesn’t matter how you bridge the gap, but for crying out loud, let’s do this. Life is too short and there are too many beautiful souls and incredible moments we miss out on because we are too afraid…

Something hit me today. It was weird and I really wasn’t expecting it.

When I close my eyes here in my home, and I just listen, I hear the giggles of two littles who love to play and be silly. I hear their big sister who is always so willing to play right along with them. I hear my husband laugh at how ridiculous and funny our kids are. I swear you can truly hear their smiles, as our family loves to be together. My heart is full and I’m smiling ear to ear…and then I open my eyes. Today I saw things a little differently. I saw that my husband is a most beautiful mocha color. The littles are fairer in skin tone, but share many features, and the eldest is a spitting image of her father. It’s not that I’ve never seen these things before, it is that today is the first time that it scared me.

To those who fear what their day holds because of the color of your skin: I’m so sorry that this is your reality. I never have, nor will I ever, know what that feels like in the ways you do, but I am so very sorry. To me, it is the most ludicrous thing to think that someone will fear you or think less of you for the color of your skin. I’m sorry you are being targeted. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. And sadly, it’s true. I’m so sorry.

To those who fear what your day holds because of your career choice: I’m so sorry that this is your reality. I never have, nor will I ever, know what that feels like, but I’m so very sorry. I have met so many wonderful officers so I know you aren’t all bad, but there are some who are making your life and your job much more difficult and scary these days. I’m sorry that they make it harder and harder for the very people you have been called to protect and serve, to trust you. I’m sorry you are being targeted. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. And sadly, it’s true. I’m so sorry.

I know the outbreak in Dallas tonight isn’t the last one. Please be careful, my friends. Be safe. Be aware. I hope that by some miracle, this scary dynamic and energy we have out there right now changes quickly. We need some love, y’all. Sending all the love I’ve got out tonight. This heavy heart needs to go have a good cry and get some rest.

 

five little words…and the handshake

So I was meeting up with a gal pal at Starbucks today and while I waited for her to arrive, a gentleman walked by me. He had what I thought was a cane with him, but I soon saw that it was to help with his visual impairment. He had a definite aroma and it was obvious that this gentleman had not had a shower in days. As he sat down, it felt safe to guess that this was not by choice.

My friend arrived and she and I got to chatting, and out of my peripheral, I could see that he had gotten up and ordered something. That something ended up being a cup of water. As I went along talking with my friend and discussing details of an upcoming event we would be working on together, he was over at the next table, just quietly sipping on his water. I knew my heart was a little distracted so rather than sit there and fight it, I excused myself and went to the counter. I asked the sweet employees if they knew who he was and if he had been in there before. They’d only seen him in the store the day prior, and again today. I was hoping that maybe he had ordered something there before and they would remember what it was. That wasn’t the case, so instead I just went over to his table. Not knowing the severity of his visual impairment and hoping not to startle him, I just bent down a bit and told him that I’d like to buy him something to eat and asked what he’d like.

He was obviously a bit surprised, said “OK….do you mind if I go look?”

So together we walked over to the display case where all the delicious scones, sandwiches, muffins, and cake pops are. I thought to myself, this will be nice. I can get him a nice warm sandwich or something, get some carbs and protein in him, and hopefully that will help a little for today.

After looking for a moment and checking everything out, he says these five words…

“May I have a croissant?”

Five little words…that was it.

Really? All these delicious looking foods and all you’re going to request is a croissant? I didn’t want him to think that all he could get was the cheapest thing on the menu, so I gently put my hand on his back and asked, “what else?”

“a coffee?” he said with hesitation, surprised and almost like it was a question of whether or not that was acceptable.

I told him to go ahead and have a seat and I’d bring it to him. You could still see he was a bit surprised by all of it. I was still just blown away by the fact that he had the entire menu to choose from and all he wanted was a croissant and coffee.

I asked the barista to please warm up two croissants. As I was waiting for the order to take back to him, a gentleman came up to me and asked me if I knew the man. As I was telling him that I didn’t, he was reaching into his wallet to pull out a $20 bill and asked me to please give it to the man. Such sweetness, and it made me happy to know that I wasn’t the only one in the room who noticed that he could use a little love and kindness.

I went to his table with his coffee and croissants, and told him that a gentleman who just left wanted him to have the money. I went back to my table to continue with my friend and we stayed for another good 30 minutes.

As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that he stood up at his table. I figured he was leaving as well. His table was between me and the door.

He continued to stand, and simply waited for me to say my goodbyes. As I walked towards him (and the door) I stopped at his table. I put out my hand to shake his, and I said “I’m Katie, what’s your name?”

In that moment, a smile came over his face…a smile that I truly cannot describe with words. It was the sweetest, most genuine, tender smile I think I’ve ever seen. There was something so pure, so beautiful, and obviously so humanizing about that moment. And with that incredible smile, he said “I’m Gabriel.”

I continued to shake his hand for a moment and wished him a nice evening.

That moment…that simple moment and act that happens millions of times a day all over the world, took a part of my heart forever.

I don’t say that lightly. Tears are streaming as I’m typing this, because there was something so alive about that moment. There is something about an experience like that that really puts life, and everything in it into perspective really quick. And it reminds you of what life is all about. It’s not about the clothes, the cars, the houses, the electronics….it’s about the people. It’s about the people around you, the experiences that each of us has, the lessons we’ve learned along the way, the love, the pain, the tears, and the laughter and we can share it all.

Don’t make life about the “stuff” that is in it, but rather the memories and emotions that go along with the people you’re surrounded by.

Gabriel, one of my favorite quotes in life is by Maya Angelou “…people will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but they will  never forget how you made them feel.” Thank you for sharing your spirit with me today. Such a brief moment, but it made a huge impact on this girl.

My heart will never forget how it felt to be in that moment today, Gabriel. You reminded me why I have such a passion for life and all the amazing people I have in it.

Do great things, friends. It doesn’t take a specialized degree, a ton of money, or a particular personality to go and do good out in the world. Take care of each other. Help someone who needs it, whether it be a mom struggling with a grocery cart, a senior who needs help grabbing something off a shelf, a little one who dropped everything she was trying to carry, or a man who is hungry. Everyone deserves to feel worth it. Put love out into the world, and it WILL come back to you!

Something about that brief moment really struck a cord with my heart today. Moments like that remind me of why we are all here.