I hope we can agree that the nature and frequency of mass shootings is a problem for America. There should be an effort to address this problem… both from the top down and from the bottom up. From the top… Our legislatures need to come up with some solutions. They get to figure out how to approach it, and then WE get to vote for the person with the idea that we most support. From the bottom… WE have to vote!!!! And that’s not all… we have to look at our society, and decide what WE can do to bring change… even if it is just in our own community, our own household, or our own heart. There is a problem, and I get to deem how to address it within my realm of responsibility, and you get to do the same for yours. But let’s just AGREE to take action. I have to ask myself, “What am I doing to create a better society for my children and my neighbors”… and I ask you to ask yourself the same.
Let’s start by looking at our passions.
We all have things we are passionate about. Certain issues really hit home with us. We feel so strongly about our stance on the issue that when we engage (whether in our own minds or with others) with this issue we become emotionally charged and downright visceral at times. That’s passion!!! And our passions are extremely personal because they rise out of our most personal experiences, beliefs, traditions, etc. It’s the reason why, when passionate, we aren’t always able to keep controlled or tempered.
I would ask… What does your passion get you? Does it get you results? Or does it just get you angry. If you’re passionate point of view on any particular issue leaves you feeling angry, or creates a wedge between you and your neighbor who might feel differently… well… Your passion needs a talking to.
If passion is a coin, the other side is purpose. Put your passion to use!!! Do something!!!! Sure, your passion might cause you to get angry and upset, but your passion should also make you feel joy, compassion, pride, and a sense of purpose. If it doesn’t…. it might be time to evaluate your passion. Why do I feel so strongly about this? Why am I so personally connected to this point of view?
The reason these issues are so polarizing, is because when you disagree with a point of view I am passionate about, I take it personal. We can’t disconnect ourselves from the stance. Our identity and sense of moral stability is tangled up with it. So, again… if this passion just leaves you angry and doesn’t mobilize, then it’s time to re-evaluate and either get motivated to ACT or think about setting that passion aside.
I speak with confidence because within the last few years this has been a goal of mine… To put my money where my mouth is…. To DO something, rather than just talk about it. And I’m proud to say I’ve put some of my passion to work.
I speak with complete humility because I have a very long way to go. I’ve read through reactions to the recent shooting, and I’ve allowed angry to rise, without action. I’ve silently judged, hunkered down on my position in the safety of my mind and with like-minded company, and have done little. So, I’ve made a little list of steps towards action. Some, piggy-backing off of previous steps, with the hope that over time, on this journey of life that I am on, I will be filled with passion and purpose that have been not only vetted and tested, but put to good use. I want my passion to have dirty work boots, calloused hands, and a smile on its face.
We can agree that we have problems in this collective life we live. The solutions are multi-faceted, complicated, and down-right difficult. Let’s combine our passions and put them to good use. Let’s get better! In our own hearts and lives, and as a tribe. As a nation. Let’s listen to one another. I would go so far as to even say… Let’s each of us listen to someone’s opposing point of view, and make zero attempt to change their mind… Just listen…. Learn…. Find out how and why they are so personally and passionately connected to this point of view. Even if our stance doesn’t budge, we will have a deeper understanding of our neighbor, and we might even be able to find a small patch of common ground.