#NiceAttacks #RIPTaliyah #BlackLivesMatters
Look at your social media feed or turn on the T.V. - somewhere, someone is being attacked or another innocent life is taken. Some days, I talk to friends about one incident and wonder what tragedy I’ll be discussing tomorrow.
As I reflect on what’s happening around me, I find myself asking - How do we fix this? What’s the solution to this madness? What can I do?
And today, I was taken back to the time I sat in a packed auditorium in Edmonton, listening to Marianne Williamson impart some wisdom. She said something that really struck me:
These are powerful words. Words that I believe in.
Yet, I sit here wondering - is love really the answer? Do we need more love?
I think love is extremely important. Love nurtures, it protects, it cares; but when I think of what's happening in the world right now, I believe what we need more of, is CONNECTION.
So, what do I mean by that?
I love my husband and he loves me. My close friends love me. I know I am loved because someone shows me they care. I don't just imagine they love me. I experience that love.
But when we step outside the zone of family and close friends, loving a stranger seems strange. The notion of loving someone you don’t really know with “intensity” could seem rather odd.
Connection on the other hand – that is different. Compared to the concept of loving, it's also much simpler to grasp and adopt. Now I’m not referring to posting our concern on social media. I’m talking about real, meaningful, face-to-face connection.
Some people have 2000 Facebook friends and no real friends. We assume people are supported because their list of followers and friends is growing. But is it really? If our interactions only happen through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc., much like virtual reality, we only see a version that's on display for us.
Real connection - That’s lost...and we need to bring it back.
When I was younger, my family didn't just know where I was and what I was unto; my neighbours did too. A child didn’t step off the school bus and everyone was worried about her whereabouts. They would inquire, they would help. They genuinely cared. These days people wouldn't know if their neighbour went missing or if they were up to no good. Not until the cops show up.
Now I’m not saying we should be nosy but we need to care more and it needs to show up in the real world, not merely on a screen somewhere.
While connecting requires some work, it doesn't feel as overwhelming as "loving" someone. Having said that, receiving this note from the kids next door made me feel both connected and loved!
We need to care about the wellbeing of others who don’t fall into the categories of family, friends and loved ones.
Whether it's visiting neighbours, spending a couple minutes in grocery store line ups or asking people on the c-train how their day is going, we need to make connection intentional and habitual. The more we connect, the more we have an opportunity to show we care.
Through small acts of connection, we may be able to impact someone’s life. Maybe someone who feels isolated, disconnected and angry will feel like someone cares for their well being too. Who knows...they may even be compelled to talk about their struggles and seek help if they feel supported.
I don’t know the answer to tackling terrorism and I don’t know how to prevent someone from taking the innocent lives of a young mother and her 5-year-old.
What I do know is each of us has a responsibility to be part of the solution. So let’s perpetuate a narrative of hope. Let's believe not all hope is lost or we will lose all hope in humanity.
Hate and contempt, only breeds more hate and contempt and we end up in a vicious cycle that never ends. We cannot change the world instantly. We also cannot force change on others…but we can influence. We can influence people every time we come face to face with them.
You never know when and where, you may shift someone’s perspective, prevent someone from acting on harmful thoughts, or maybe even save a life. All we can know is – we have to be that positive change and connection is one way to manifest that change.