My friend texted me Sunday morning.
“I want to be full of anger, but honestly, I’m more afraid than anything. I hope all your peeps are ok. Sending you love.”
Then Instagram and Facebook and then the news and suddenly I was one of millions shocked, sad, confused and more scared than I had been before I fell asleep. The attack on the gay community of Pulse in Orlando was running through our country, making it’s way through us while we woke up.
Then a little guilt. I’m one of millions feeling shocked and sad and angry and afraid, but I am not one of the hundreds devastated. What can I do with my sadness, especially when it’s not my family or my friend, not my city or my community.
In times like times like these I think of the town of Kapoeta, South Sudan. On the airstrip in Kapoeta, rocks are just barely visible, poking up in mounds on the sides of streets, piles laid over bodies where they fell in a gun fight. Kids played mancala on a board dug from the ground, the rocks just visible next to them.
The musical, Rent, changed my younger self, and every time something like this happens, I remember this line – “The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.”
Peace is something you make. Peace is sometimes a march, a cry of thousands together. But most often, peace is you making it in the smallest ways in your own home, on your own street, in your office, in your school, in your grocery store, in your park or DMV or on the phone with your friend.
Peace is the mom who cheers at her daughters primary school graduation. Peace is the old man singing with his brothers to their favorite old tune. Peace is a woman who writes “Love is the one” in paint made from cow dung onto the walls of her home. Peace is a customer service rep who holds it together through screams. Peace is a hairdresser considering the face of a woman in her chair. Peace is putting a plant in your window. Peace is writing a letter home. Peace is reading a poem to your partner before bed. Peace is a smile at the cashier. Peace is cleaning the bathroom mirror. Peace is rubbing lotion into your dry hands. Peace is hugging someone you love.
You make peace, and you make it every day that you choose to do the best thing you can for the good of someone else, whether that someone else is yourself, your family, a stranger, your neighbor, the earth.
If you want to do something for the community of Pulse in Orlando and like me you’re so far away, make peace. Help the world lean into good by leaning in yourself. Do your best today, whatever that means, and do it in remembrance of those who can’t, those who wish they were making peace with you.
Create good. Make peace. Today, I’m doing it for Orlando.