My husband had a cold last week and my daughter is recovering from strep throat. I’ve been super tired and overly paranoid that I might be getting sick. I don’t have time to be sick right now; I need to buy groceries! Clean things! Prepare for Christmas!
I was feeling not quite awake enough for my chores this morning after the kids went to school. Maybe feeling bad for myself and my potential ailments. So I started scrolling through Facebook. Because I never learn.
And I felt worse.
I read a story about a young woman on a bus in Chicago who was assaulted by a stranger because he perceived her as being Muslim or Middle Eastern or some “other”. I watched a video where a woman verbally attacked a man for praying in the park because he wasn’t praying to the “right” God. I saw a message from a famous Japanese American, whose family was placed in an internment camp in the 40s, who is fearful of where the current rhetoric in the US towards Muslims could lead.
My stomach turned as I read the stories and watched the videos. I felt sick, but this was not the sickness I’d feared catching from my family. What I felt in my stomach was not a germ I’d picked up having it’s way with me, but the result of watching hate spread through our society. It creeps through our TVs and our social media posts and slowly wraps itself around the path that connects our heart and brain and CUTS IT OFF. It sets up a control center in the part of the brain that controls fear and, like a dictator, commands the rest of the brain follows it’s lead, regardless of how terrible and ridiculous it can be.
Not everyone succumbs to the fear. Some are able to stop it from entering, others are able to recognize when it’s invaded and stop it before it takes over. And when we are able to stop it, that gives us power.
You wouldn’t have a problem sharing a cute kitten video with a friend, so instead share someone’s story. Share a story of someone being victimized because of their appearance or beliefs. Don’t unfriend that person sharing terrible untruths, comment with the truth. Give voice to the voiceless. You can still share a silly viral video, but also help a video to go viral that shares truth.
What you share or like or read on social media matters; it’s social so we can all see it. Just like when you are at a party, we can see who you talk to and what jokes you laugh at. Support the light to help shut out the darkness.
I believe that there are more of us who are good and see the good in others and are willing to choose love over fear than there are fear mongers. We have the power and that gives us the responsibility to steer the course of our society towards love. If we don’t, who will?