I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
June 14, 2016
You woke Sunday morning, checked your phone, and saw the news. Dozens of people had been killed or injured after a man with an assault rifle opened fire at an Orlando nightclub. You felt sick reading the reports, your stomach churning as you struggled to understand how anyone could be filled with the kind of rage and hate that would lead them to end the lives of as many of the people as he could.
You’ve spent the last few days talking to friends and relatives about the shooting and scrolling through countless anguished reactions to it on your social media feeds. Just like you, people feel distraught. Fearful. Powerless. Heartbroken. Just like you, they wonder how they’re supposed to explain such an appalling act of violence to their children when they’re unable to make sense of it themselves.
By Monday, anger over the shootings has set in. Arguments abound online and on cable news about gun control. Immigration. Religion. Politics. Your heart sinks as you consider how anger and hate fuel so many of our interactions with each other these days, how they seem to have become unbreakable threads woven into the very fabric of our society. You scroll through your Facebook feed, becoming more and more disheartened by all the negativity. You want to find a solution to the problem– and an answer for your kids– but you fear there really isn’t one.
And then you come across this– a notice given out yesterday to patrons at a Vancouver restaurant.
You also come across this photo- It’s just one day’s worth of mail that’s arrived in response to a photo posted on Facebook last week of a teen with autism, sitting alone at her own birthday party. After explaining that no one showed up for 18-year-old Hallee Sorenson’s birthday party last year, a relative asked her Facebook friends a few days ago to send cards for her 19th birthday on July 2nd– So far, more than 5,000 have arrived, along with flowers and gifts.
The family has set up a Facebook page with photos of the response from well-wishers around the world and it brings tears to your eyes to see all that’s been sent so far.
Suddenly, you are reminded of something you’ve known all along– The best way to push back against all the anger and hate out there is with love.
Love. It’s that simple. Love is the best and most appropriate response to the fear and contempt and rage that threaten to overwhelm you. If anger is a thread woven through our society, let love be a thick rope that we can all grab onto. Love is in the message to customers at The Fountainhead Pub. Love is what motivated so many Londoners to gather together and honor the memories of total strangers. Love inspired the long lines at blood donation centers yesterday. Love fills every mail crate that shows up at Hallee Sorenson’s door.
You will tell your children about what happened in Orlando, and it won’t be easy. But you will also tell them that for every hate-filled man with an assault rifle, there are thousands upon thousands of people who are filled with love and concern for each other. You will show them these pictures as proof. And you will promise them that every time they show love and kindness to others without stopping to consider who they love or what they believe or who they’re voting for or where they come from, they are fighting back against the hold of evil on this world.
Love. It’s the only response that will sustain us.
Header image used with grateful appreciation to 10-year-old Thalia in Brooklyn, NY.