When I woke this morning, the news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas made my stomach drop.
I imagine this was a collective feeling across our country, across the world. How do things like this happen? Why do things like this happen?
We have no answers.
We get no answers.
Only the stinging pain as we see the death toll rise.
The video coverage is chilling and heart breaking. The sound of the gunshots and spray of bullets mixed with cries is something you don’t easily forget.
While the sights and sounds of this tragedy are overwhelming and shocking, the spirit of those in the area of the shooting is awe inspiring.
Through the horror, you see people helping complete strangers. Husbands shielding their wives. Mothers shielding their children.
There was a fifty-year-old man who shielded a group of college students whom he’d never met, stating he had lived his life and knew they still had so much more left. Stranger upon stranger, seeking ways to help one another without a second thought.
In these moments, politics did not matter. Party did not matter. Race did not matter. Whether kneel or stand, Republican or Democrat, old or young, black or white, none of it mattered.
It was in these moments that the spirit of adoption shined brightly.
Each man and woman woke this morning with a collective and crushing understanding that somewhere, a mother lost her son. A father, his daughter. Brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, and on and on all lost.
In this moment, we are all adopted into the same family.
Our differences do not matter, and we are joined together as humans to mourn incredible loss in the face of our humanity and mortality.
We all cannot fathom that kind of pain, and if we have the misfortune of having been there, that feeling is crushing and makes it hard to breathe.
We cannot grasp the depth of the pain that is being experienced. We cannot fathom the horror and the fear that the concert goers felt. We can only look for ways to help and become better through these kinds of tragedies.
We can recognize in these times, none of our differences matter.
As Mr. Rogers wisely quoted, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Look for the helpers, but also look for the spirit of adoption.
Look for the ways we can adopt the neediest around us. Take your children and serve at a soup kitchen. Visit the elderly. Take those foster care classes you had been considering. Move forward on the plans you were waiting for until “the right time.”
The time to help is now.
When lives are at stake, we recognize what really matters. Let us begin to recognize what really matters in our everyday, when things are good. When tragedy has not yet struck.
Let us come together as a humanity bound by our recognition of the greater family of which we are all a part – regardless of our differences.