Momservation: Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.
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In the nearly decade that I have been writing this Momservations® blog I have never asked you to forward it to your friends. That’s because I’ve always hoped my writing would speak for itself. That if a piece moved you enough—whether through laughter or tears—you would feel excited to share your discovery. I wanted you to pass it on not because I told you, but because you thought it was too good not to.
Today, though, I am asking you to pass it on. It has taken me two days after the Las Vegas Massacre to clear my head and my heart; to get that sickening rat-tat-tat of gunfire—the noise of war so disgustingly out of place—from ringing in my ears.
I’ve tried everything to distract myself from my sorrow, increasing angst, and the horrific reality that America’s worst mass shooting had arrived too soon on the heels of the last one.
Even more distressing, my family had recently gone to the BottleRock music festival. Never could I have imagined such a festive and wonderful event turning into a blood bath in a hail of machine gun bullets with nowhere to hide.
For two days I’ve been wrestling with this new parenthood angst: What kind of nation allows its children to be massacred time and again?
Because the thousands of people who continue to die by targeted gunfire on American soil are ALL somebody’s children. You say we’ve never had a modern war on American soil, but I say: Look around at the body count. We are in it.
In the last 18 years I have had to instruct my children—after each horrific new precedent—how to protect themselves if a shooter enters their elementary school, their middle school, their high school, their college; Their movie theater, their mall, their work place, their convenience store, their place of worship…
Add to the list: their music festival.
I have a sense of urgency now to protect my children from this nation’s war that cannot wait for our politicians to go round and round again with no solution.
In the end, I came back to what has always given me comfort, solace, and purpose in my times of uncertainty and sorrow. Writing.
And I think it’s helped me stumble onto a solution.
We must fight this war of depravity and festering hate with the opposite: kindness and love.
And it can start right now.
How does a tsunami start that can overtake a whole city? With a jolt and a ripple. It grows as it picks up steam. Until it washes over everything obliterating anything in its path.
Why not try to wipe out evil and hate with a tsunami of kindness? Let’s be jolted out of accepting that this is the new American status quo and our Second Amendment right.
What if everyone, collectively, starting doing something kind? Each little ripple would roll into another generating a wave of positive energy.
Skeptical? Think it’s too simplistic and overly optimistic?
Would it hurt to try? Would it cost us anything? Is there anything controversial about spreading kindness, happiness, and love? Who am I to try to be an agent of change?
I am someone who practices what I preach. On a daily basis I try to answer this question that I have permanently posted on a wall in our home:
I got the idea from my friend Maria Shriver. Maria said that her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a pioneer in turning small acts of kindness into movements, started every day and every conversation with her family with that question: What have you done for somebody today?
I can tell you from my own experience, that when you do something—anything—kind for someone, you will never feel more wonderful. I also firmly believe it makes a difference. When you see how someone lights up with an unexpected act of kindness or remember how you felt when someone did it for you, it leaves no doubt that making human connections and feeling noticed and validated gives you a surge of happiness.
And when people are happy it is contagious. They smile at others. They open doors. They let people merge in front of them—even without their blinker on. They pay the bridge toll for the person behind them, they buy a coffee for a homeless person, they let it go that someone has more than 15 items in the 15 Items-or-Less line.
And the world feels like better place. And you don’t feel so helpless. And you are inspired to do greater acts of a good. And the ripple of humanity turns into a wave of compassion.
And maybe that lone wolf doesn’t feel so alone. And maybe that suicidal person feels seen or is given hope. And maybe someone’s child doesn’t look like an inanimate target. And maybe love trumps hate and washes away evil. Maybe…we can change the nation and the world for the better.
#BeTheRipple #StartTheWaveOfKindness #LoveTsunami