I love my neighborhood. I love where I live. When I moved to Rogers Park a year ago I had no idea that the tree lined streets, proximity to Lake Michigan, and odd collection of neighbors would bring me daily joy. Last month that got shaken when back to back shootings claimed the lives of two of my neighbors. I didn’t expect to be on alert as I walked the streets I call home. What I feel, though, pales in comparison to the families and friends of those lost and those targeted by the mass shootings that have taken place in the weeks since my community was first shaken.
Much has been written and will be written about this time in history. On a global scale, I live a live of privilege and I know I take that for granted more than I intend. I also know that in spite of that, some days life is just difficult.
I feel disheveled. I feel angry. I want the world to be a better place for all and I honestly don’t understand what motivates people to act the way they do, vote the way they vote, kill the way they kill. I want people to find contentment and I wish there was a way I could make that happen and do so that wasn’t at the cost of another person’s sense of contentment.
Last year at the holidays I sent postcards with a photo my mom took of me the week I moved here. It was my way of connecting with people and with sharing the news of my big news (and my new address). This year I look at that photo and see the sense of hope I had. I still have that sense of hope, even if I feel like it has been run through a blender.
In cleaning out my office today I ran some documents through the shredder. As I looked through the contents I realized the documents are all still there, it just requires a lot of work to put all of the pieces back together in the right order. I feel the same way about American culture. I feel like we’ve been through a blender. All of the pieces that were always there are still there and they likely aren’t going away but they aren’t in the order that made sense before. They aren’t in the right order. I’m not sure if there is a “right” order any more. I do think there is a new order, though, where we can recapture the hope that the country was founded on and I do think there is a way to do that that isn’t on the backs of the disenfranchised. I just don’t know how to get there. I do think, though, that it is possible through careful, meticulous reassembly that won’t always make sense and won’t always feel good. Guess I better make myself comfortable. It is going to be a long journey.
There are a lot of messages out there. Some I don’t find particularly helpful.
But others give me pause and bring me hope.
What message am I sending? What message are you sending?