This post is nothing about sports. It's nothing about anything fun or lighthearted. This post is a representation of my thoughts over the course of the last day and a half. I've been hesitant to hit publish, but ultimately, decided I would publish with this preface and allow you, the reader, to stop reading before you even start. If you are hoping for our standard content, that will be back next newsletter. Today, though, is a different day.
I'm fortunate, but I feel guilty because of it.
But most of all, I'm starting to feel hopeless.
It's been just a little over 24 hours since I learned about another shooting at an elementary school. Six people - three of them just nine years old - were killed by a shooter in a school. The shooter was also killed by police.
I think of the parents.
The parents of those three, sweet children.
They were just children.
Children who went to school and didn't get to come home.
Kids with their entire lives in front of them.
I have three children of my own, the oldest is eight years old, roughly the same age as the three children who were killed yesterday. When I took her to school this morning, the only thing on her mind was whether she would go to the school's book fair before school or during first recess. Ultimately, she decided that recess is the only time she would have ample time to find a book she liked.
I wonder if The Covenant School in Nashville had a book fair yesterday too. Did those kids get the chance to go? Did they at least get to do something they enjoyed before a monster took away their lives?
Maybe they had a test. Maybe their teacher read a funny story or they had a breakthrough when learning long division that day.
I hope they had something fun yesterday morning before their lives were taken from them.
I am angry. I am heartbroken.
For 24 hours I've watched politicians make hollow claims that appeal to their voter base.
The claims are meaningless - just like they always are from politicians.
I have watched vitriol spew itself over the internet for the last 24 hours. People quoting the second amendment and other people citing statistics of children killed.
There is no conversation. There are no suggestions. There are just people digging their heels to deep into the earth's crust that they can't see the earthquakes they are causing between their neighbors.
They don't see that we're all in pain, because being right is what is most important.
It doesn't stop with elementary school.
I get angry all over again reading about the failures of so many people to protect Lauren McCluskey.
Even after her passing, I read about more adults more concerned about being right than about making things right.
And I'm angry all over again.
These are our kids.
Have we always failed at protecting our kids and we just didn't know about it? Is this just part of the human experience that I need to come to grips with?
Speaking of the human experience? What really is that experience?
Are we alive just to survive?
A deer wakes up every morning with one primary goal: Survival.
A deer seeks food. It seeks shelter from weather and other elements. It avoids predators, or hunters, or humans driving cars. Everything a deer does is oriented around making it to the next day.
Surely, that's not the human experience, right?
If the human experience is deeper than the experience of a deer, then why do we treat each other so poorly?
Why do we gossip?
Why do we hate?
Why do we mock?
Why do we kill?
I felt immediate hatred for the shooter in Nashville yesterday. In my mind, that was justified because what they had done was a despicable act.
But then I thought of their parents. Their parents lost a child yesterday too, and my heart broke all over again. Not only do those parents have to reconcile with the fact that their child won't ever come home again, they have to reconcile that because of their child there are six other empty chairs at dinner tables in Nashville.
The pain that must cause them.
It makes me angry. And it breaks my heart all over again.
Everywhere we go, there is pain and there is anguish. Everywhere I look, there are humans treating other humans poorly.
There is no escape from the pain. There is no mending the broken hearts.
So why? Why are we doing this? Why do each of us get up and go every day? Why is this pain and heartbreak something we do?
"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."
That's how Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl summarized the belief of Friederich Nitzsche.
Has humanity lost sight of its why? Has individualism become so much more important than anything else that the only why anyone lives for anymore is self gain?
If self-gain is our why, it's no wonder there is so much anger and heartbreak.
If self-gain is our only goal, when will we know we've achieved it? What is the destination we're all trying to get to?
Is it money? Because someone will always have more money.
Is it fame? Because there will always be someone who doesn't know you.
Is it possession? Because there will always be something new that you don't have.
Is it the next promotion? Because there will always be a better-paying job.
What is the endgame for self-gain?
There is no happiness in self-gain, only a never-ending feeling of inadequacy and emptiness.
What if our why was cemented in others?
What if our why was the progression of a neighbor? Or a friend? Or anyone else, really.
If our why becomes others, then doesn't that mean that everyone is a potential reason to live?
If our why is others and not ourselves, would we be so awful to each other?
I am inadequate in so many ways. My ramblings on today are nothing more than scrambled thoughts from my brain.
The order is poor.
The organization is poor.
The descriptive writing is poor.
The end product is, probably, poor.
But such are the thoughts that have been coursing through the streams of my mind over the last 24 hours. It's been disorganized and chaotic. It's been painful and hard to describe.
My thoughts have been a nightmarish hellscape for 24 hours as I envision so many little babies cowered in corners of classrooms, wincing with the reverberating echoes of every gunshot.
I am still angry, and I am still heartbroken. I am still distraught, and I am still confused.
But, as long as I remember my why, I suppose I can bear this how. And tomorrow, I can wake up and help everyone around me bear it too.
And that's my why.