I have struggled this week to write a blog post. The heavy feelings of all that has transpired in Orlando compounded with the one year anniversary of what happened here in Charleston gave me pause. Do I address what is happening in the world and how do I do that in a way that adds anything to what has already been said? Do I write a random blog post this week about southern life or writing and ignore current events?
I have mulled it over for several days as I have gone about the business of living. Last night I was standing at the stove sautéing up a skillet of fresh local veggies, white beans, rainbow chard, onion, and orange cherry tomatoes. I should add I don’t normally take photos of my cooking, but the colors were so lovely and I wanted to show it to a friend who had brought me most of the local produce I was cooking. Facebook and the news have been plastered with rainbow images to message love over hate in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting. Last night, which was a Wednesday night, the Charleston A.M.E. Mother Emmanuel had a memorial bible study and a double rainbow formed in the sky arcing over the church. The image went viral, at least locally. So this morning my thoughts finally came together.
These are my thoughts and the lessons I gathered this week. First, love begins at home. We have to practice our tolerance and love with the people we live with and in our communities each and every day. Unity and respect are part of our daily stand, not just expressed for a few weeks after a tragedy. Second, the diversity and differences among us is what makes us a vibrant community and nation. When I was gazing into that skillet, each vegetable added to the pleasing composition of color and texture. If it had just been a skillet of chard, it would have been less appealing and less nutritious. Each one of us brings strengths and contributions to the whole. Finally, I was moved by Charleston native Stephen Colbert, when he said in his monologue that love is a verb. Words are only words unless they lead to action. It can be a physical action, volunteering and helping or it can be a change in your attitude and treatment of others.
Just like my skillet of diverse veggies made my body healthier and stronger, A community and a nation filled with a rainbow of people is also stronger and healthier. So my take is that no matter the colors of our skin, or orientation, or religious beliefs, if we use love as the glue to bind us together, we create the beauty of the rainbow and a bond that hate can never break.