A long day went by. It was long for me but surely much longer for others.
I felt a heaviness that I've felt too much lately.
A heaviness because of the disgusting show of white supremacy and Nazism with which we were all assaulted this weekend. And because of so much of the hurtful response to it.
I came home tonight and turned on the TV, almost habitually, and saw live coverage of a Charlottesville vigil. The news station just pointed a camera at it for a very long time without commentary. The crowd of hundreds or thousands or it might as well have been millions broke into every familiar song together.
They sang that "this land is your land" and "this land is my land."
They sang about their little light and how they're "gonna let it shine."
They sang Amazing Grace.
They occasionally laughed when they realized they didn't know second verses, but they attempted to sing them anyway.
I didn't plan to watch it. But I couldn't stop.
The crowd of diverse faces and softly-powerful voices just kept coming. And I could not turn them off.
As I listened and watched I realized some things I already knew.
That people are good.
That love for others is surprisingly powerful.
That it's possible to care about strangers I've never met, 2,000 miles away from me.
That shared heartache is unifying.
That unity makes life worth living.
That courage sometimes looks like peace.
That peace sometimes looks like resilience.
That the greatest ugliness can sometimes produce the most beautiful silver linings.
That diversity breeds beauty.
That while there's strength in numbers, that strength matters more when it's punctuated with charity.
That hostility is surprisingly unpersuasive.
That humility sets you free.
That no opinion matters more than a person.
That fire is pretty when it's held up by purity.
That there is reason to be optimistic about the future as long as my neighbors are in it.
I know some older people who would call my epiphanies naive and too cheesy to matter.
But I'm a 33-year-old man who has used variations of these epiphanies to live 33 pretty amazing, albeit tough at times, years. So I say they matter. And I'm sorry for anyone who can't make them matter for themselves.
My hope tonight and this year and beyond is that I can spread that naivety as far and wide as my little self can, especially to those who have had a much more tumultuous journey than I have. That I can use the good fortune I've been afforded and find ways to make that good fortune matter.
I was inspired tonight by beauty. And I'm grateful for that.
I love you all.
~It Just Gets Stranger
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