Learning Las Vegas (BE the change…now!)

We woke up this morning…and the world had changed.  Again.  The news is all over social media and some stations are still covering live feeds.  Current head count…58 dead.  Over 500 wounded.  In Las Vegas…just 6 hours south of me.  Where my husband and I went for our honeymoon weekend just 4 months ago.

Sometimes This Weighty Crazy Life is far more weightier and crazier than any one of us would like it to be.

At this early point, they are saying the shooter had no affiliations…politically or spiritually.  That he’d never really stepped a toe out of  line.  Yet this man checked into the Mandalay Bay Casino & Hotel last Thursday…and waited until last night…where he opened fire on 22,000 people with over 10 guns.

Like shooting fish in a barrel.

I’m beyond clear there was planning and premeditation.  I’m also beyond clear that the man had SOME form of motivation or end game.  Some intent will be found in the coming days…whether it’s a vague terrorist link,  or a vendetta against country music, a statement against the President or the state of our nation, or just that his mind had somehow taken a left turn and his actions were completely “normal” to him in that state of mind.

I’m also beyond clear that we will likely never know the true answer at the core of the choices that were made, leading to Sunday’s tragedy.

But what I DO know…is that while it’s absolutely senseless on the surface…God’s hand is on this moment in time.  Psalm 73:26 (niv) says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”, while Joshua 1:9 (niv) directs us “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Humans are surprising in both their strengths and their weakness.  Our news is littered both with the heartwarming stories reminding us to have faith in the human race, as well as the heartbreaking stories like this one.  While we shouldn’t put on rose-colored glasses and forget that evil does indeed show up in any form…we need to choose to embrace the ones which uplift us and remind us just why God created Adam in the first place.

The phrase has become common place…pretty much done to death in social media terms, yet it still hold true in all moments.  This is where we reach out beyond ourselves…be the amazing humans God created us to be…and be the change you want to see in the world.

Surprise someone today…CHANGE THE NARRATIVE FOR. THE. BETTER.

Hand someone a smile they desperately need to feel.  Gift someone a moment of joy or peace.  Give out kindness and gentleness of spirit like there’s a massive surplus of it and it’s on sale for pennies at the overflowing warehouse. It honestly simply starts with you.  With each and every one of us.  Create a new wave of something beyond beautiful and change the world for the better.

And do it…now.

 

 

Thinking Of You (or…when people are just plain mean)

“Thinking of you.”

10:51 AM on a random Wednesday…

A text I sent to my 14 year old Freshman daughter yesterday.  A spur of the moment thing.  A random uplift at 10:51 AM on a not-so-special Wednesday.  Just because.

“needed that thank you <3” was the response from “Bug” in my least favorite text style containing zero grammar or punctuation.  At least it included my favorite emoji…a purple heart.  Because what doesn’t go with purple hearts??

Reading that text…my momma’s heart double-timed itself.  Those were not typical words from my outgoing daughter.  As I gently asked into it a bit (aka: demanded every last piece of knowledge and expression and subtle nuance because #MommaBear!!), I felt my heart not just double-time…but outright beat to the pulse of righteous indignation and outrage.

Some kid (boy would I like to use another word there…) thought he was being funny in her AVID9 class and called my precious eldest daughter…a slave owner.  Her empathetic and kind heart now lies mangled on the floor as she hears this thoughtless and frankly nasty comment directed toward herself…and her adopted sister.

Over 6 years ago, I was a single mom with a gorgeous 8 year old daughter, and we wanted to share our lives with more people.  We chose to reach out and adopt our cousin “S” who had a chaotic childhood to say the least.  Drugs & neglect were involved, as well as sexualized situations…”S’” birth mother had lost parental rights to her oldest daughter, and was quickly losing rights to her youngest two children.  All three of the children had different fathers, none of them Caucasian.  The eldest is half-Latina, while the two younger are half and quarter African-American, respectively.  We only know who the father of the eldest daughter is…many men were tested for the two younger, and none were matches.  Our educated guess on their half/quarter statuses has more to do with extrapolation of basic genetic knowledge (recessive vs. dominant genes) and watching the children develop over the years.

This is what this miseducated young man is referencing to “Bug” by calling her a slave owner.  Our cousin…Bug’s adopted sister…is mixed race.  Not that it matters one whit (except to the census bureau) whether she’s black, white, or a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater….but this mess of a kid went for it.  And hard.

My precious new husband is livid on Bug’s behalf…spitting nails and a few horseshoes too, honestly…while my heart also breaks for my eldest’s sweet spirit and kind ways at having to face down this deficiency of caring and empathy.

Dialing back my ever growing #MommaBear!!, I help guide her…inviting her to see that sadly people are inconsiderate as a whole, and our society has been brought to such a place that being sarcastic, mean,  and ridiculous in extremes is the now accepted norm.

With that said…I have always been raised by the motto “there is NO excuse for rude”.  I don’t care how old or young one is, how mad they are, how righteous they feel their stand to be….there is still NO excuse for rude.  Agree to disagree with me…but don’t be rude.  Have your own opinions…but don’t be rude.

The climate of our society has changed significantly in the past few years.  Racism has become a thing all over again…every slight is considered an insult to the extreme.  We are a country, a people…divided. We have forgotten what made us one.  We have set aside our melting pot and jumped on the “take offense at everything” train…and we’re headed for the nearest brickwall at full speed.  We are truly living one inch from the wall…and it’s past time to make a hard turn to avoid the impending crash.

My daughters are my daughters.  One is caucasion…one is not.  One is neuro-typical…one is not.  One is outgoing and challenges herself (and those around her at times!! lol)…one hides from her own history and refuses to “deal with real”.  They are still my daughters and forever will be.  In fact, I’ve been blessed this year to add two precious stepdaughters and a delightfully crazy & loving stepson to my roster, and each one of them will be loved by me without hesitation or condition until the day God lays me down for the last time.

Meantime…I have to find balm for Bug’s heart and spirit.  Remind her to BE the good in the world.  To stand strong for herself and what she wants to achieve.  Help her take that next step she wants to take in the face of the sharp teeth waiting for her.

This is indeed a Crazy, Weighty Life…and we are privileged to live it.  Today, the Weighty side came out and bit deep for our little family. Tomorrow will bring a new challenge and a new row to hoe.  What will you stand for?

Bug’s Ocean joy.