Tuesday, October 3, 2017

50 for 50 day 27: Frivolity and sorrow

This is the 27th of 50 posts celebrating and ruminating on my 50th birthday. You can see the rest here.

I wrote yesterday (ever so briefly) about the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. What a horrid phrase, recent mass shooting, so commonplace now that we have a term for it. I don't quite know how to get back to regular posts, the ones that might offer some insight into life and the world or maybe amuse you a bit, but I know it is important that I do so.

We, humans, can do amazing things. Remarkable things. Dreadful things. Wondrous things. But we can do none of them if we don't give ourselves permission to feel whatever it is we need to feel.

We must mourn, in part because grief can power action which powers change. If we deny the grief we deny the power of our own attachments and our own ability to make meaning out of loss.

We must feel relief, those glimmering, sometimes furtive moments when we pause to breath, to laugh, to think about nothing more meaningful that the color of leaves in the rain or a Simpsons episode. If we deny the relief we will deny our own honest need to recharge and we will burn out before we can create effective change.

We must rage, because fear and sorrow drive rage and right now, that is the language being spoken. If we deny our rage we will never work through the fear and sorrow enough to be able to act in meaningful ways, we will simply scream and be ignored.

We must listen to each other and especially to those with whom we disagree because when we listen we find common ground or windows into strategies we would never have otherwise realized. If we refuse to listen then we will never find a place to start.

We must celebrate those we have lost so they will not be forgotten; we must celebrate our own selves so we will not deny our power; we must celebrate the world for all of its possibility. When we forget to celebrate we can lose sight of all the miracles we have already achieved.

We must let ourselves experience hope and joy amidst the sorrow, because nothing will change if we can't first dream that change is possible.

We must never forget that humans can do amazing things. Remarkable things. Dreadful things. Wondrous things. We each have the capacity for beauty and terror.

This is all well and good, but truthfully, I am struggling to remember this. I question my own voice, the validity of what I do, my own effectiveness. I know, it might seem foolish for a storyteller to wonder if what she does has meaning in this day and age, but I do. What value are these stories in the face of such injustice and pain?

They have the same value they always did. They speak to what it is to be human. They are full of grief and relief, rage and listening, celebration, hope, joy, and life itself. They are a reminder of our better possibilities.

All of this is to say that even in light of yesterday's horror and tomorrow's undoubted rage, I will keep writing. I will keep listening. I will keep telling stories that offer other possibilities and responses. Who knows, maybe one of you will respond in a way that will give us all the light we need to keep walking together.

This is what 50 looks like. Still walking through the sorrow and joy. Join me.
(c)2017 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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