It’s been 48 hours since the deadliest mass shooting in US history. As your mom, I want to shield you from this reality. I never want you to know about such violence, such tragedy.
But also, as your mom – I need to be the one to talk to you about this.
Sometimes – unbelievable tragedy breaks out in the world and we do not know why.
Sometimes – one’s own pain and anguish translates into mass destruction like this.
When this happens in the world – you will see fear emerge. We start to fear the other; we fear what we do not know; we fear public places and political leaders-and most of all we fear our neighbors.
I do not know how we find security again after such a horrific event, but I do know that only love can overcome hate, only light can overcome darkness.
My dear child, as you grow and learn and experience the world- I pray that you remember to know and love your neighbor: your gay neighbor, your Muslim neighbor, your black neighbor, your Asian neighbor, your homeless neighbor, your mentally ill neighbor, your NRA member Neighbor, your green party neighbor, and everything in between.
By know your neighbor – I mean learn his mother’s name. Understand what he loves, and what he fears. Figure out where his passion is and what hardships he’s faced.
Remember that all of your neighbors are human beings as well – trying desperately to navigate in this broken world.
Remember that we are all in this together, and that we belong to one another.
Never forget the vulnerability and tenderness within your neighbors.
Always remember that every person you meet is made in the image of God – therefore they are an opportunity to know more about goodness and grace.
Knowing and loving your neighbor will not stop tragedy in the world – but it can stop your fear. It can stop the temptation to draw lines between insider and outsider, good and evil, sameness and otherness – and this will begin to heal the world.
I love you with all my heart, darling. And each of your neighbors has a mother that loves them too. Or they don’t – all the more reason to show them compassion.
I long for you to be safe, secure, confident, courageous, but most of all compassionate because the world desperately needs your loving heart.
When the dark times come – remember my voice. Remember how much you are loved. Remember that every human being deserves the same love. Be that love in the world, because that is where the healing begins.
I believe you will be someone who can make a difference. The bright light of your soul gives me hope and times like this.