September 15, 2021

Tears are Never Useless—Let them Fuel your Fire.


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News to no one: it’s messy out there. 

We have a pandemic; we have poverty; we have warring and helpless refugees.

We have homeless children and sick civilians with nowhere to go. We have women trapped in their own bodies and rapists running freely.

We have a planet shouting for help as we continue to bury it with litter. We have patriots rotted to their core from years of familial narcissism.

We have a nation tarnished by the media and our own falsities. We have lost years of our lives while we watch and criticize from our windows. 

And yet, I still have hope. The tears I have cried are not useless. They help no one, and they change nothing, but they fuel my fire.

My pain has bubbled over time and time again: living in projected fear for Black families, pregnant children, dying humans, and mothers giving up their babies in hopes they may survive to see a brighter day.

My grandfather wrote a letter to my brothers and me recently. He is a man who has lived through the Great Depression and whose family’s life was greatly influenced by WWII and the pain that the world endured at that time. This was his closing statement: 

“All my best wishes are for you and your good fortune. But the reality I see ahead suggests you will live through troubled times. I hope that sharing these observations may (in some way) be helpful for you as you live the realities ahead of you. You come from a family history that has dealt well with adversity. With resolve, you have seen how it can be met and overcome.” 

The life we once knew is gone. Forever. (I am happy to wave goodbye.)

My grandfather is right in that there are troubled times ahead. We can no longer sit in the rot of American racism. We can no longer turn our backs on the refugees of the world. We can no longer support the political drive that lacks humanity and divides more than it unites.

Ethics, seemingly, have ceased to exist, and opinions run rampant. We war against each other, following not the instincts our species evolved to master but the energy in which our screens say we should. We all know right from wrong. Lies from truth. Danger from safety.

We choose to turn a blind eye when it is most convenient for our self-preservation, but the blind eye has turned into a way of life for all too many—seeing only out of the rose-colored glasses that suit us.

I dare you to take the glasses off. I beg you to remove the blinders. I urge you to cry the tears. Put yourself in the shoes of those whose needs are unmet, of those whose everyday lives are lived in terror.

Now sit. Sit with this until the fire sparks. Allow the burning sensation to fill your chest and overflow until you can bear no more.

Do you feel that? You’re becoming human again.

With your glasses off, you can see again. Soon you will feel the fires of others and be drawn to their boundless sight.

We will grow and grow and grow until the wildfire burns the trauma of today. Soon we will understand the teachings from our ancestors that not all forward progress promises a better tomorrow.

We will undo the bad; we will foster the good; we will create a better tomorrow.

Even if we die trying, at least we can say we lived fighting for what was right.

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