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Year Two Day 35: A Glimmer of Hope

I cried most of Sunday after hearing about the massacre in Orlando, Florida. I watched the news. Read several articles about the shooting and several commentaries on gun control, terrorism, and hate crimes. Then I prayed. Cried some more.

Then I washed off the tears and walked to the bus stop. On the way, I listened to talk radio. The horrifying facts were still coming in.

I unplugged and went in to sing hymns and pray.

After church, I went to the used bookstore to forget about the pain for awhile. But afterwards, on the bus ride home, I noticed life going on as usual. Had they not heard? Did they not care since it didn't directly affect them?  I put on my headphones and tried to find an update on the radio. Nothing, just music, commercials and preprogrammed talk radio. I did find extensive coverage on the television at home. I lay down and watched, still crying.

I fell asleep for awhile. When I woke up, I had an ache in my chest. But on the television and on Facebook, were notices about vigils that would be taking place in Portland. And in other cities. People were gathering candles. Singing. Holding hands. It was painfully beautiful.

But Portland Pride parade is this Saturday. Will they be safe? Thankfully, Portland police is increasing security.

I see many posts on Facebook saying how love always conquers evil. Indeed. But in the meantime, we are faced with the aftermath of yet another horrific shooting. Apparently the shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS. He bought his assault rifle legally recently. While on the FBI watch list.

And now the war between the left and the right begins. I don't have the answer. But I refuse to go about my life as if this doesn't affect me. It affects all of us. And I reserve the right to care deeply. And if I can ever help this world be a better place, I hope I will not hesitate to act.

Rewind a few days. To Saturday morning. Breakfast with my mother.  At one of our favorite Portland family restaurants: Toms on SE Division.

We talked about our lovely breakfast, the beautiful weather, our beloved families. And then the conversation turned. To politics.

My mother is a die hard Democrat. I am a registered Democrat. I was leaning heavily towards Bernie Sanders. But now that he is quite possibly out of the race, I am perplexed. As, I am sure many people are. I've read entirely too much about the corruption of the Clintons!

Then there is Trump. I am wary.  I admit I find him entertaining. I enjoyed hearing him speak his mind, just as I enjoyed Bernie.  Much less political than the standard presidential candidate.  I do think the media portrays him unfavorably.  I like his strength. But is he qualified? I do not like his hate speech.  But is he the candidate we need to keep us safe? I am honestly a bit anxious about speaking this candidly. Many of my Facebook friends would burn me at the stake (excuse the expression) for speaking even slightly favorably about the much aligned Don.  But I feel very uncomfortable about Hillary. I would like to support her. Our first female candidate!  Sigh.

So my mother and I talked a bit. Debated a bit.  But this woman is as solid as an oak tree. She told me she would not be changing her mind. So, I deftly changed the subject to upcoming family events.

I had a light teaching day. Kids have just gotten out of school for the summer. I downloaded a book about the Clintons on my Kindle. I sped read it. In two hours. I was disgusted. And then stressed out. How much truth was in this book? It sounded like a personal vendetta after awhile.

I thought about doing research. But, then I got depressed. Do I really want to go there? I was getting more depressed.

I went out for dinner after teaching and read some light fiction. I went home, planned some crockpot meals, and did some housework.  All the while my heart thudding dully in my chest.

I woke up early Sunday and checked the breaking news.  This is a habit of mine. Ever since 911. I was shocked.  Always my first reaction.  I called my mother. Always my second reaction. 

And then the tears came. But this time for a good reason.

I am still down, but I feel the winds of love and positive change.  I have been watching news coverage of the Orlando shooting. I have been reading many articles online about the shooter, about radical Islam ideology about assault rifles and then suddenly I found a post by Facebook friend. A post for the "Green Party" candidate Jill Stein. The article caught my teary eyes with the opening line:

"Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein says she believes presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton could be worse than presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump."


My spirits are lifting.  I am still on the fence about who I will vote for in November.  But I feel hope.

I am still praying and following the Orlando tragedy.  It warms my heart to see the love flow in from all corners of the world. Love will prevail!

But everytime they show the face and story of another identified victim, my heart breaks for their family.

And what about the shooter? Evil, yes.  But now his son has no father. And he has left behind a legacy of hate.  Did this come from radicalization? His own childhood. We may never know. I also pray for his soul and for those on the edge, filled with hate and contemplating an act of evil.

And I am thankful. That I have a God who hears prayers. That I have family to love and students to teach.

My heart is still breaking for the victims of this shooting and all that suffer.

But there is hope.

I cannot talk about my food intake and exercise today. It seems so shallow in the light of these events.

But I wish you, the reader peace.



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