The year 2020 has put my teachings around attitude firmly in the hot seat. I have often attempted to explain the difficulties of maintaining a positive attitude and choosing to be happy. After all, working to be happy when life is kicking your ass makes you a stronger person.
Negativity is necessary. We should feel angered by injustice. We should be concerned when we see a lack of compassion or empathy from our fellow human beings – especially our leaders. More than anything, we should feel afraid for our country when it has erupted into chaos, hate, and bitterness.
Covid-19 has spiked, especially in my home state of Florida. Florida is where my elderly parents live, my daughter attends high school, and my husband works as a first responder.
The divisiveness of the country haunts me.
The race issues both sadden and terrify me.
The thought of bounties placed on the heads of our brave military men and women sickens me.
Where is the positivity to be found here? Now? In this horrible year?
Here is where I see the light –
I see it through young people. I see my teenage daughter's passion for all of her friends with their different races, backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientation, and I am inspired. Too often, we hear about "kids these days." But I have faith in the positive difference they will make with their ability to keep their hearts and minds open to their fellow human beings. They will come together in a way that no generation before them has been able to do.
I see it in my desire to be a better person. The willingness to step outside of everything I ever believed and reassess. To understand that not being racist is not the same as understanding what my black friends have lived with for so long. To know that just because I do not have hate in my heart does not mean I should be naïve enough to believe that hate does not exist – and, therefore, does not need to be addressed. I have unburied my head, and I see things more clearly.
I see it through the hope that many of us have for a better tomorrow by acknowledging our mistakes of yesterday. Hope, now more than ever, can inspire us to reach across the aisle. It can motivate us to admit where we have failed. Most importantly, it can guide us to the answers. Hope will make us stronger, more courageous, and wiser than we ever were before.
We have an opportunity to take everything that is weighing on our minds and hearts, and finally say, "this is not working."
Maybe it starts with something as simple as a prayer – for the safety and well-being of everyone. Perhaps it begins with using our privilege to stand up for the marginalized and our voices to speak up for what we know is right. Or, maybe, we need not forget how bad this feels.
We know better. Now it is time to do better.