Lead with love.
That’s what I say when I’m not sure how to move forward.
It’s how I talk myself into the hard places,
believing my heart will find a way to help and heal.
Lead with love is how I pray, knowing that when I take time,
keep my heart open, and breathe before I speak,
everything will be OK, and we will all leave
this world whole, even if we don’t leave together.
But today the sorrow runs so deep,
I’m not sure my love is up to the task.
Checking on our children, the ones who live in the town with all the lights.
Comforting a friend grieving for her community.
Saying their names.
Jennifer. Jack. Kurt. Thomas. Adrian. Sonny. Jordan. Lisa.
Jessica. Quinton. Rachael. Sandy.
Wondering how “mass shooting” has become everyday vernacular.
My sadness is more than my heart can hold,
sharing space with anger, frustration and despair.
Turning off the sound when the tin man speaks,
reading the captions instead.
I want to hear their stories. What it felt like to be them.
Not just when the bullets rained down, but when they were
singing and swaying and loving and living.
Bailey. Dana. Rhonda. Denise. Angela. Charleston. John.
Chris. Carrie. Stacee. Jennifer. Neysa. Bill.
And 500 more.
It was a massacre, and my love can’t fix it.
I believe in peace, hope, and love.
I believe in America, equal and just.
Safe and secure, for all. Especially the all part.
I believe in freedom, just not the one that gives us assault weapons
and unlimited ammunition.
I believe we can overcome, but I don’t know how.
I will start with an open heart, breathing for the two of us.
Today I will start, and tomorrow I will stand.