Norton: Where do we go from here?
In an instant, the world changed again. As he left a successful sales call in New York City, he saw an alert for “Breaking News” pop up on his cell phone. When he read the headline, it said that 19 children and two teachers had died in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. His heart became heavy, his legs buckled, and he felt sick to his stomach thinking of his own grandchildren. His customer and the products and services that he sold were no longer important at all.
As she sat at her desk as a chief financial officer pouring over spreadsheets and financial data, she also kept one extra monitor with a news feed so she could watch the stock market as she was doing her work. She saw the headline come up on her monitor with the same message as she received on her phone, “Breaking News,” 19 children and two teachers had died in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. With three children of her own, the finances of the company became less of a priority as she raced home to be with her family.
In a prayer group on Facebook, the 1,000-plus members poured out their prayers for the families and the community who were impacted and for the world. They poured out their broken hearts for what happened that day as they prayed together. They prayed for what is happening every day in our country when it comes to senseless and random acts of violence. For the past week, online prayer groups, small church groups and bible study groups have been trying to wrap their heads and hearts around such tragic events, while leaning into their faith and standing on the promises of God.
Where do we go from here? What do we say when the words get caught in our throats and we cannot speak, or we just don’t know what to say? Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes the only thing we can do is to be present, available, empathetic, compassionate and open to sharing how we feel as we try to understand and make sense of any of it. Yes, we are allowed to feel hurt and angry, but let’s not allow that hurt and anger to lead us down the wrong path. Instead, let it fuel our desire to pursue real change.
Where else can we go from here? For the past week we have seen politicians, entertainers, actors, professional athletes and CEOs of large organizations share how they feel, also giving passionate pleas for the necessary change that needs to happen before we have yet another Sandy Hook, Parkland, Columbine, Robb Elementary (and so many other tragic events) take place. And where shouldn’t we go? We shouldn’t give in to the blame game, pointing fingers across the aisle.
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We should never politicize any tragedy such as this. The victims and their families deserve better than that. The best way we can honor all the victims and families who have gone through this kind of senseless violence is to come together to find the solution instead of trying to determine who is to blame. At the end of the day, violent video games, violent movies and television shows, access to guns, the far left, the far right, and social media will all be blamed. But this, my friends, is not the answer.
Do I know what the answer is? No, I don’t. But I do know that human lives, at any age, young or old, are precious. And I know that I want to be a part of the solution in any way that I can. Knowing in some small way, we can all contribute, doing our part to live in the spirit of love.
Is your heart broken? Is your heart heavy? Mine is too as I write this column. I would love to hear your story of where we go from here at email@example.com and when we can help fill the world with love, forgiveness and compassion, it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is the grateful president of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.