Some days are hard and some are collectively hard. Today was one of them. I heard the news when I woke up and the count was 20. I checked out of my hotel room at Fargo CoreCon, wrapped up the goodbyes and got in my car for the four-hour drive in back to the Twin Cities. I turned on MPR to get the news and the total was 50. The biggest mass shooting in American History.
I listened the whole way back. Getting more and more details as they trickled out. I got annoyed when they talked about the political fallout that may come from it and shed some tears listening to recounts of the horror.
Then I heard about the mile-long lines outside blood donation centers. Businesses donating and handing out food and water to those in line. The head of the GLBT community center who said he cried his last tear for today at 8 AM when people came in to help in any way they could. Donations poured in and they had unlimited supplies of food and water all donated.
I started thinking about Boston Strong after that horrible incident, Occupy Sandy lugging food and water up 20 flights of stairs to makes sure homebound people didn’t die in buildings without power. It’s how we respond that makes us human.
After a crisis we respond and help. When we fall we help people get back up. We stop the bickering and constant dehumanizing talking points and come together. The why waits while we as a society make sure that those who are doing the lifesaving and caretaking have everything they need. When it counts human nature is strong and caring.
I have seen too many of these in my life. But while every great tragedy hardens my heart, my soul is healed when I widen my gaze from the tragedy itself. Like in life society has its low points but every time we get up we come out stronger on the other side.