Have the events of the last 24 hours left you undone? I know, that’s a stupid question. We’re all undone.
Our nervous systems are frazzled, and not one of us knows what to do. It seems though, that when we hear news of a tragedy, our instinct is to jump in, to find a point to stand on, and place blame. It’s guns. It’s terrorism. It’s lack of security. It’s a mental health issue. It may be all of these, or none of them. But in our shock, we argue. It’s as if the feeling of being right about something, about anything gives us a moment of control.
I certainly don’t have any answers. I have prayers, I have meditations, I have classes you can come to for a few minutes of respite. And I have a suggestion that I would like to share…
The phrase “Hurting People Hurt People” keeps coming up for me. There is no way a person who has felt loved could ever do what was done in Las Vegas.
So I ask you to look back. How did you get here? Who in your past helped pave the way for your happiness and success? Who showed you love? Everyday, we all have “chance” encounters with strangers. We have seemingly insignificant conversations with neighbors, friends, colleagues, customers. If you think these don’t matter…consider this:
A ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll in any of several directions, depending on slight differences in starting position, and any slight changes or nudges along the route. It’s the same in life. You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential. If you think back, it’s very likely that some of the most influential people are not even aware of the things you learned from them, or the direction they nudged you in.
I think often of Mr. Barney, my 5th grade teacher. I don’t know what he knew about my home life, but I do know that he truly saw me. He was the first adult I remember treating me as a valuable human being, with potential and possibility ahead of me. He helped me stand straighter, talk more confidently, see myself in a brighter light. I know he sent my ball rolling in the direction of where I find myself today. I can’t help but wonder what would be different if the Vegas shooter had a Mr. Barney in his life. Or a me…or a you…
Pause for a moment and think of some people who gave you a nudge in life…people who had a significant influence on you and probably don’t know it…now…how will you thank them? Three of the people I think of are no longer on this earth. One is. Tonight, I will write her a thank you card, before it’s too late. Will you do something similar?
Now…here’s the suggestion I offer. Starting today, how will you intentionally influence others? How will you find opportunities to hear, to see, to make eye contact? How will you encourage others, even strangers? Let’s do this together friends.
Peace out there starts in here…