Have you ever noticed that the news always begins with “Good afternoon” and then proceeds to tell you why it isn’t? We used to laugh at how ironic it was, but it has been more true than ever these past couple weeks, especially with the attacks in Orlando on those at the night club along with singer Christina Grimmie.
What would possess someone to take their anger and hatred to such extremes? Why kill an innocent 22-year-old girl for no known reason? Why let someone’s skin color or life choices influence your perception of their worth when we are all just trying to figure out this crazy thing called life?
Even though these questions will remain a mystery to us for the remainder of our time on earth, it’s exactly in the midst of these kinds of crises when we’re reminded that there’s still good in the world. Just like after 9/11, Sandy Hook, and so many other horrible tragedies, there have been incredible acts of heroism and countless people donating blood and even risking their own lives to help the victims. It’s amazing to see, but it’s also so sad that a tragedy has to happen for us to wake up and love each other, or even to notice the good that still exists in the world.
A priest once told us after a mass shooting that even the smallest of our actions matter — we can either be part of a culture that hates and murders, or we can be part of the culture that loves and forgives even in the little things. Just like how one smile can change someone’s day, even the most insignificant things we do can impact people much more than we could imagine.
So what can we do, especially as young adults, when something so horrible happens? Blessed (almost Saint!) Mother Teresa so famously said that even if we can’t do great things, we can do small things with great love. In the face of so much pain and hatred it’s easy to concentrate only on the things we can’t control instead of focusing on what we can do — we can love. We can choose to love our annoying co-worker, or the person who cut us off in rush hour, or that grumpy cashier who grunts instead of using words. It might seem trite or too small, but it’s everything.
If just one more person had shown one of these shooters what love is, could it have changed the outcome?