In wake of Orlando, there are no words

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

There are no words. I sit and look at a blank page on my computer screen. The cursor flashes in expectation, but I have no words.

I’ve felt that way since I heard about the mass shooting in Orlando and the deaths of so many people. What can I say about something that defies reason and explanation?

Of course, many people had no trouble finding words. I was horrified to see how quickly posts supporting more guns or fewer guns hit the internet. I wanted to scream, “Can we let this argument lie a moment.”

People are dead. Families and friends are dealing with the reality of never seeing someone they love again. So, everybody shut up for a minute and have compassion for the ones living out this tragedy on a personal level. It is not happening to those of us so willing to jump on social media and argue our points of view. (I include myself).

Personally, I don’t think more guns are the answer, but at this minute arguing that point solves nothing. It’s wasted words that offer little comfort to those hurting so much. It also divides us into different camps when our need is to come together and open our hearts to each other.

In addition to arguments about guns and gun control, there are discussions about gay rights and homophobia. Somewhere I read there is speculation that the shooter was gay and struggling with it, which started debates about whether it was his Muslim religion or his struggle with being gay that motivated his actions.

There are stories about people celebrating the deaths of gay people. These posts sit beside comments about the need for understanding and acceptance of those who might be different from us.

No, I don’t agree with the hateful comments. Yes, I think we need more acceptance and understanding. Still, I thought as I read the stories and messages, “more division.” It feels like the focus is on people choosing sides, more attention on what makes us different, less awareness that beneath our outward, human “beingness” we share something indefinable and precious.

What I do know is my heart is weary, so tired of the news of another tragedy, people killed for no reason other than a disturbed person thought their deaths was a solution to whatever conflict was living inside his head. And I struggle with how I can make a difference in a world that seems so out of balance.

Do I contribute by joining in the arguments? Do I restore balance by proclaiming my ideas are the right ideas? Will I make a difference by shutting down any consideration of opinions other than those that agree with mine?

Those options seem hollow and of little use in the face of so much suffering and separateness. Therefore, I am trying to be silent and still and privately honor the precious people we lost because of the terrible and senseless actions of a disturbed human.

Whether we believe guns are great and we should all carry one or feel eliminating them is the answer, for one inhale can we let go of the need to convince each other of the rightness of our stance? No matter what we think religion says about someone’s lifestyle, can for one exhale, we release our need to judge, to preach or to save people because we don’t think they are living right?

Can we be quiet and connect at a place deeper than the ideas in our heads? Is that possible for humans?

I don’t know the answer. I can only go inside myself and decide how I choose to live my life.

So, today when I found no words, I opened the book I learned from in Sunday School and found the words I am holding onto as I try to see and to be light in the darkness.

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12 verse 18.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.