I don’t know where to start, however, feel the need to write something.
I’m watching the news and they were summarizing the closing arguments for the murder trial of George Floyd’s death, by Derek Chauvin, today in Minneapolis. Once that part of the story concluded, they moved on to what may happen once the verdict comes in and that Minneapolis, and other major cities around the country, are preparing for violence.
I feel overwhelmed and so, so sad. I can’t stop the tears. When they’re showing footage of downtown Minneapolis and seeing the boarded up buildings that I used to work and dine in, and the courthouse surrounded by fencing, it rips my heart out. I sit and cry, feeling helpless. They’re not boarded up due to Mother Nature, they’re boarded up due to human nature.
More sad news this past week are the businesses that literally just got back to business from last year’s unrest in Minneapolis, were destroyed for a second time in riots after the death of Daunte Wright. Consequently, peaceful protesters are getting injured and arrested alongside violent ones. (Peaceful protesting is legal, violence and rioting are not.) And women and men are continually putting their lives on the line to protect our communities.
Now that I am writing this, I have a word to describe how I’m feeling – numb. This past week there were more mass shootings in the United States. There have been so many I can’t keep track of where, who, when, how many- let alone why? And that bothers me, because they all deserve the attention and memory as those that happened previously.
My husband and I ran to the local mall today to grab a bite from one of favorite food stands. I actually took inventory of the people in the food court and looked for someone who may be a potential shooter. I’m tense, tired, sad, mad, frustrated, stunned, fed up…numb. I’m numb and care. I’m numb and want things to change. I’m numb and want to take action, but the thought of doing so overwhelms me. Where do I even start?
I was talking to a colleague of mine who lives in Southern Africa. She has seen some of the news reported about the trial – but didn’t really have an understanding of all the dynamics that are at play in the headlines. She’s had a romantic image that the United States has it all together. When I was sharing many of the things that have been part of our news cycle for the past several years, she was shocked and disappointed. I think that’s why I am numb, I’m beyond shocked and disappointed.
We all have a responsibility to each other – to “love our neighbor”. We have a responsibility to be kind and respectful. It warms my soul when I see neighbors and beyond coming together to repair the destruction from the violence. But, I am tired of seeing people coming together due to another tragedy, after another tragedy, time and time again. Whether it be in Minneapolis, at our Nation’s Capitol or abroad.
If you’re reading this and thinking “it doesn’t affect me. It’s not happening in my community”. Think again. We’re all tied together and COVID-19 is a beautiful example of how connected we all are. It has shown us how one person can affect hundreds, even thousands of people, around the globe.
I have found it challenging to stay upbeat and forward moving this past year. Between losing my employment, social isolation, COVID risks and the civil unrest, it’s been a hell of a year (there’s plenty more I could add to the list). Ironically, the entire premise of SheTaxi is to “fuel your inner drive and keep moving forward” This past year has been a test of my emotional and mental fitness and whether I can motivate myself to keep moving forward.
This is the reality of what life is handing to us and I am overflowing in stress. I also know that I am one of the fortunate ones. Feeling this stress gives me a morsel of understanding of what it feels like to live in a country that is at war. No wonder the life expectancies are significantly lower in those countries. The toll that the stress takes on your mind, body and spirit is harmful.
I know some say, “that’s why I don’t watch the news”. I understand that perspective, however, also feel very strongly about being informed, and informed factually. I try to pace my news consumption so that I can manage my spirits. I don’t have auto news alerts on my phone to get my all psyched up. I’ve noticed everything seems to be coined “breaking news”. I must have a different idea of what is really ‘breaking news”, versus what are news updates.
I’m trying to come up with some words of wisdom to close this blog. The best I can do is to say take it a day at a time and pray. Prayer/mindfulness is a powerful force in our world. Pray for people that look different than you. Pray for people you hate. Pray for people you love. Pray for you. Please pray for me – I’ll take all the prayers I can get. Pray for grace, understanding and change. Pray for humankind to be, kind.