I want you to go outside today and look up. Look at the mountains and the trees. Listen to the birds. Feel the air currents moving on your skin. The atmosphere that touches you is the same that touches me. We draw breath of the same gasses. Under the thin crust of rock on which we stand flows the same magma over the same core. The same light shines on us from the sun, moon, and stars.
This planet is our home.
Something terrible happened in New Zealand and my heart is breaking for those people. I feel compelled to write my jumbled thoughts about it.
All the details aren’t clear yet, but a man shot people worshipping in two mosques. A lot of people were hurt and a lot of people died. It may have been because they were Muslim and it may have been because they were immigrants and refugees. The cruelty and selfishness and evil encompassed in that man makes me feel physically ill. Thankfully, he has been caught and will face justice for his actions. Yet this incident is a symptom of a more widespread problem.
We are living in a culture of outrage and offense. If someone looks, acts, or believes differently, we ridicule and criticize them. Sometimes we gather entire mobs of people on social media to attack them until they withdraw their point of view or admit error when no error was made. This type of behavior is despicable and when it manifests in smaller issues, then the hatred and malice compounds into bigger issues until some psychopathic idiot murders a bunch of innocent people.
As members of humanity, we ought to welcome diversity. The variety of foods, colors, clothing, dances, books, religions, even physical human features brings so much beauty to our world. This diversity should be treasured and welcomed into our homes, cities, and countries.
It doesn’t make sense for us to hate each other because we are standing in different rooms of the house. It’s absurd to dislike others because their clothes are the exact same style, but a different color. Building walls between countries, refusing to provide safety for the innocent, or rejecting kindness to someone different are acts that ought to be condemned.
If a child has a nightmare and comes to you for comfort, you don’t spank it and lock it in a dark room. You hold it, kiss it, chase the shadows from the room, and check under the bed for monsters. If your neighbors house is on fire, you don’t nail shut the doors and windows. You help them escape, put out the fire, and then assist in cleanup and rebuilding. If a country is at war, the same principles apply. We should welcome the refugees. We should help the immigrants. We should end their nightmare, not perpetuate it. People who lock a child in a closet and deprive them of basic care are known as abusers. So why is it acceptable to do it on a planetary scale?
As a member of the human family, we are capable of empathizing with people whose situations and choices are different. We can learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and our contemporaries. Let’s reject the exclusivism of race and country. Instead, open your arms and your borders. Offer kindness and acceptance. Allow New Zealand’s pain to pierce your heart and motivate you to make a difference, somehow, today.