I write this less than twenty-four hours after a synagogue up the street from my house became the target of hatred. I write this in the dark at my kitchen counter, a half-mile from where my neighbors were hosed down by gunfire, simply because of their faith. I write this as my family sleeps, knowing that when they wake up and we read this morning’s newspaper, one of the seven of us will likely know someone who died yesterday at a blessed ceremony to give a newborn baby his or her name. I write this as a candle flickers in front of me, dancing in the dark as if it to challenge me to see the light.
At least it was raining.
The sun never came out yesterday. And it shouldn’t have. The fog and low-lying clouds were the physical of the emotional we all felt. I watched a friend report live across the street from the synagogue, just a few homes up from his house, and he was in shock. The words coming out of his mouth didn’t make sense. But I understood them. I felt the same way in 2016 when six family members were killed by hatred at a backyard barbecue. Their deaths, again, taking place about a half-mile from where I sat.
It’s too close. It’s just always too damn close.
Jack is the one who told me. My sixteen year old had the same expression on his face the day his little brother was hit by a car on their way to school. The same expression I saw as I raced to the scene to find him cradling Christopher’s bloody body as rain poured down on them. The same face Jack had when he told me our neighbor, rapper Mac Miller, had died. The same face he had when he told me a former classmate of his had crashed his car and was terribly burned when the engine exploded. The same face when he learned that my aunt had finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
I never want to see that face again.
There is indescribable suffering in our world.
There is simply no more time to hate.
I drove my family in a fog to a birthday luncheon yesterday. My sister-in-law’s grandmother was turning 100. We were to celebrate. And we tried. But the whispers of disbelief and sorrow created a hum all around us. “What do you expect with a President who hates so much?” a woman I like very much said to me. And that’s when it hit me.
We are truly divided.
Of all times to unite, her words sliced through the din like a knife. Hatred is winning over love.
(Ryan loves babies, and his little cousin, Fionn, is no exception.)
Righting this sinking ship called America is up to you. It’s up to me. It’s up to US. And it doesn’t begin until we stop pointing fingers, finding blame, and hating people who are different than we. Who have different beliefs. Different backgrounds. Different skin or a different faith.
(My sister-in-law, Tracey, celebrating her grandmother's 100th birthday.)
This is it. The time is now.
As I rocked my sister-in-law’s baby in my arms yesterday, I almost envied her grandmother's one hundred years. She may well live several more, sure. But she won’t hear about these horrors. I kissed my nephew’s head and breathed in his sweetness, saying a silent prayer for him and all our children that the grown ups in this world start acting like it before it’s too late.
(Having my nephew, Fionn, fall asleep in my arms reminded me of our many blessings...)