Yesterday was a day that seems eerily similar to others in the past. As Father O’Brien reminded those of us sitting in the crowd, many of us were in the same situation four months ago, after the shootings which occurred at Newtown. As I sat in Dahlgren joined in prayer with many others, and one word kept running through my head… “Why?” Why do these events occur? The truth is our generation is living in a world that is filled with both good and bad, darkness and light. As I talked to my friends today, we discussed how we’ve grown up in a world that has had its fair share of tragedy, and this will continue to happen into the future. Our children will face a much different world than we do, just as we face a different world than our parents did. In the past few years, it has seemed that every week presents a new tragedy for us to deal with as we struggle to understand all that is bad in this world. Although it may seem clichéd or a state of hopelessly hoping, I do believe in the goodness of humanity, and no matter how hard it is to keep on believing, I will keep trying. Days like today put things in perspective. Calling your mom to hear her voice, texting your little brother to say you love him… all of which are things that I, along with many others do, when tragedy occurs, but these are the things that keep me hopelessly hoping.
Whenever I think of the “whys” I also tend to think of the “what ifs”… what if this hadn’t happened, what if this had, what if this had been done before. At this point in my life I’ve learned that thinking about “what if” is difficult and sad, but it also makes you think and feel. Through this reflection and emotion you realize that after this point comes “now what.” Now what can I do, now what can we do… Sometimes we can’t do much, but when you believe that there is hope, and that there is goodness lying within humanity, even in the smallest of things, these are the moments when life can look up. For many, life won’t be looking up for a while, and a tough journey lies ahead. As a country and as a people we have faced tragedy in the past, and as we experience another in the present, we demonstrate our ability to join together as the United States of America. We are united as a people who have faced hatred and evil and will be prepared to stand against it until the end of our days.
So while I sit here and continue to think and feel and wonder, I happen to be listening to two songs on repeat, “What a Wonderful World” and “Imagine”. These songs seem especially poignant right now. While they may not be reflective of the world we are living in, they are reflective of the way the world should be. I think the comedian Patton Oswalt said it best yesterday, “…when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘the good outnumber you, and we always will.’” These words are similar in spirit to those of Martin Luther King, Jr., “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”