First came Sandy. Then Newtown, CT. In the span of a few short weeks, fear and grief became the predominant sentiments governing our everyday lives. Unimaginable natural and then man-made violence shook our world to its core. There is no more denial. Climate change is here. Gun violence is out of control. How did we get here?
Like waking into a very deep and dark nightmare, it seems many of us are opening our eyes to things we have long ignored. Living a wasteful, toxic lifestyle suddenly came back with the force of a storm we could never have imagined. Years of increasingly lax gun control legislation and rising rates of mental illness and pharmaceutical treatments brought us to a cliff we had never imagine looking down. And, in an instant, we fell.
There is no going back. There is no silver lining. There is destruction and fear. We are terrified with each and every passing day. Malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and schools are no longer safe. Our homes, our lives, our property can no longer be protected from the dangers around us. And we - each and every one of us - bear responsibility.
We can draw into ourselves. Focus on appreciation and gratitude for what we have and for what has not touched us personally. Or we can realize that we are one and that what has already happened has changed our lives forever. We can stand up and take action. We need involvement and we need community. We need to personally take action. We need to contact our government officials and take a stand. We need to actively engage in our local communities. We need to get involved in protecting our future. We NEED to change our lifestyles, to make sacrifices, to give of ourselves. Simply sharing a post on Facebook or Tweeting something into the universe will not change it. Only real, live action will.
Will these tragedies move you to live differently? Will you engage or retract? Will you drive deeper into a disconnected or virtual world or will you engage? The more we busy ourselves with distractions, the bigger our problems grow. We are all responsible. And we all need to act. Together.