I walk. A lot.
I do this to keep a couple of steps ahead of my disease and keep my lungs healthy and strong. I also do this to reflect on my life and ask, what can I do better as a father and husband; what can I do to make my kids’ world a better place? More importantly, what can I do to become a better human being than I was at the start of the walk? Many times, I find no answer, but sometimes a little light gets shed on the subject and make me start to walk down another path from the way I was going, literally and figuratively. Today was one of those days where I had more to reflect on than usual. Tomorrow is yet another Chemotherapy session which will find me miserable for a few days afterward; and I have to prepare myself for that and steel myself against it’s inevitable onslaught to me both physically and mentally. I was also still thinking about Friday’s tragedy and what I can do, or we as a society can do, to try and prevent this from happening again. And suddenly it came to me in a flash. It was as if the sun had gone nova and it took that to happen before I could see the light that was blazing so brightly before.
We must be human; and we must be kind to one another.
It sounds so simple and easy; it sounds idealistic; it sounds like a facile solution to a complex problem…but it’s not. It is the root cause of everything that we as individuals and we as a society need. If we want better mental health care, then we have to be more human about its treatment and its stigma associated with it as something that is to be hidden and not addressed directly. I have openly addressed on this blog my own struggles with PTSD from the aftermath of 9/11 and my own diagnosis as having bi-polar disorder. I am lucky, because I have the insurance that allows me to be a whole person; but many do not have that luxury. I am able to tell right from wrong, but there are days when quite honestly, the line blurs for me…and if it’s happening to me, just imagine what is happening to those poor souls who do not have the luxury of that privilege. I KNOW what can go through the mind of someone who has these issues. I know first hand how easy it is to lose control and just give in to the Darkness. I also know first hand what needs to be done to maintain control and embrace the Light that comes from others as well as what is inside of me. But this realization could only happen because I have people who care about me and treat me as a human being. It makes me want to pause rather than to give in to my base instincts. There are those who have no one in this life, and they do not have others to show them the way forward. What these people need is something as simple as kindness and understanding first and foremost even before we as a society can treat their ills.
We have become a culture that embraces the Darkness because we see no hope. The Mobius loop we are in is the root cause of the problem is that we see no hope because we OFFER no hope. There are people who see no kindness because they are offered none; and they despair and give into their most primal and uncontrolled instincts and do to others unspeakable things like what happened this past Friday. We need to offer hope; we need to offer Light; we need to show others that things CAN and WILL get better if they know there is someone to catch them when they fall. Simple acts of kindness and humanity are the first steps toward one’s own enlightenment as well as the enlightenment of us all.
We can blame video games. We can blame a culture that embraces the violence and terror as part of its societal fabric. We can blame many things; but its root cause is offering no hope for the future while letting the present exist in Darkness. We need to change the way we THINK as individuals before we can act and address the problems that lay before us. In order for us to be human, we need to embrace the part of us that is like the Universe…infinite and full of wonder; full of hope; full of Light. We need to renounce the part of ourselves that is complacent in its very existence; the part of us that walks by the beggar on the street rather than help them out with a meal or a new pair of shoes like that NYPD officer did a few weeks ago. We need to reach down deep inside and pull out the part of us that is a creature of Light; turn our souls inside out if necessary. We need to be able to do one simple act of kindness before we can do hundreds or thousands of acts of kindness by making this place, this fragile planet become a better place to live.
Be human; be kind to one another.
It is probably the most difficult choice many of us will have to make because quite simply, we exist in a society that doesn’t glorify that kind of behavior or encourage its very nature. We would rather be a creature of the Darkness rather than a being of Light because we do not promote the very fabric of our Humanity that IS our nature and our destiny as a species. We are LIGHT. Once we accept that; once we have that basic concept in our head, then we can begin that which I just spoke of…
Be human; be kind to one another.
It starts with a simple act of kindness and goes from there. It snowballs into better health care for all of us, and most especially for those who cannot afford it. It starts with us taking away the implements of destruction that threaten our very lives. It starts with getting rid of the guns, the assault weapons, the tanks, the nuclear tipped missiles aimed at the very heart of every nation on the face of this earth. It starts when we say, “Enough!” and act upon that thought. We need a way to offer hope for the Future and a better Present…and that means getting rid of our old ways of thinking. We are truly at a crossroads this time, because we can now truly see the sacrifice those young souls made upon our behalf. They chose to come into this plane to show us the way; 20 Angels and creatures of light who sacrificed their future for the future of us all. It starts when we understand that they would still be here if we only did one thing…
Be human; be kind to one another.
We can talk about the specifics at another time, but we must all come to terms with this horrible tragedy by embracing the thought that we CAN offer Hope. We CAN offer a Present AND a Future to anyone who needs it; in fact, we need to all realize this because we must be the ones who light the way. We must, as a nation, become the shining beacon of hope and freedom that we once were. We used to be the ones who wore the white hat; we used to be the country that defended and protected the sacred cause given to us by our founders and be the light of freedom and of hope…but we must also be the nation that has seen the ill of its ways and repented upon the altar of History. We must be the ones who embrace the simple fact that we are the last best hope of mankind. We ARE the future. It is going to take some sacrifices, but those are sacrifices that we must make on an individual level and the rest will fall into place.
Be human; be kind to one another.
So many of our prophets and saviors and enlightened souls have been telling us that this is the case for centuries. We usually turn away from them and kill them even as they tried to show us the way to become, that which is our Destiny. To be Human is a blessing and a curse all at the same time because we must balance our base instincts with the future salvation of our very soul by forsaking the Darkness that dwells within and embrace the Light that is always there in each one of us, no matter how small. Even the smallest ember can start a fire, and let this be the incident that lets us know that there will always be someone…even a complete stranger…who has our back and will grasp our arm and pull us up from the mob that is trampling on us (like what happened to me on 9/11). We must be the ones to lead because those 20 children who died for our sins this past Friday have charged us with the task today and our Founders who did the same 236 years ago. We must look at them and embrace the better nature of our angels, because within each one of us dwells a being of infinite compassion and caring. A being that can transcend the very earthly confines we find ourselves trapped in and struggling with on a daily basis.
The true test of a soul is when they are alone in the Darkness and without a candle and when no one is looking. It is time to light that candle of hope and guide ourselves out of the dark prison we have made for ourselves. We need to be the flame that lights the other candles of hope because the person we are helping, although a complete stranger is our brother or sister. They are human beings just like we are. We must offer them hope and peace. And there is only one way to do this:
Be human; be kind to one another…for the next hand you grasp may very well be the one who is reaching out to save you. Take it, hold on to it for dear life…and see the hope love and light that are coming from the Human Being who offers you a chance to have hope and a future once again.
I have found that it is ironic that I understand more about life as I face the possibility of my own premature death. It’s a shame that it took that to happen before I realized that I had more to offer my children, my wife, my family and friends than I had offered in the past. It is now time to take whatever knowledge I gleam from this experience and pass it along…so that you may also show others the way that unfolds before me. And it’s all so simple…and starts with each one of us, and it starts the moment we embrace ourselves, faults and all, and an implement of the will of the Universe.
It starts when we embrace the word “Humanity” as something beautiful and not something to be feared. It starts when we embrace the better nature of our angels…and we realize that we are the angels who have been chosen to deliver humanity’s calling to the world.
Be the Light; be the change that you seek. Be the Human Being you know you can be, and that you in fact are. Only then can we offer the hope needed to change our society and ourselves.
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon…we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win… “
-John F. Kennedy