in life

Maintaining Hope.

April 20, 1999. September 11, 2001. April 16, 2007. December 14, 2012.

These dates have defined a generation – my generation. A generation that has to be more aware of their surroundings. A generation that understands “safe” is a relative word. A generation that locks their doors and sets alarms. A generation who’s optimism and innocence has been tested, and for some some, completely stripped away.

Columbine. 9/11. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. On Friday our country dealt with the kind of tragedy that honestly cannot be explained. And even here – now – I find myself not being able to come up with something profound or eloquent to say – but I felt like I had to say something.

I’m not a deeply religious person, so rather than turn directly to God or a higher power – I look within. And I believe in my heart that is what must be done now. Our leaders, our decision makers, our friends and family, and each of us – must look within and reflect.

I’m not sure there’s a lesson to be learned here. The murder of innocent people is tough for me to swallow as any sense of logical “lesson” to take something away from. But if there could be one – if there is a takeaway to be had – I believe this encourages us to look within and seriously reflect on how we treat ourselves – and maybe more importantly, each other.

My good friend Brett summed this up beautifully on Facebook over the weekend:

“Maybe, just maybe, instead of trying to “understand” the cause of human dysfunction – we can look to the most obvious solution to human dysfunction.

Understanding. Decency. Love. Respect (self included). Acceptance. Honesty. Inclusion instead of drawing lines in the sand and swimming in self-righteous indignation. Handshakes instead of fingers pointed. All colors instead of everything being black or white, this or that, etc.

Maybe then we can stop arguing on Facebook about what progress looks like or what map lines carve out a “true America.” Maybe we can stop fueling our egoistic need to be right by focusing all of our energy on doing right. Maybe we can stop expecting government policy to fix the problems we perpetuate, and start looking to EACH OTHER for answers.

To start – how about we learn how to fucking be good to each other as a species?”

Today, friends – I’ll be honest – today I am afraid. I’m worried. I’m shocked. I’m angry. I’m confused. I’m humbled. But most of all, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because I have to be – and we, collectively, must maintain hope. We must.

Today I’m hopeful that even in our darkest hours, community, compassion, and love will conquer fear and hate.

My heart – all of my heart – is with the families who have lost so, so much.

(Photo credit)

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  1. You nailed it Matt.

    Just like to see us converge and seek answers as a species instead of using this as reason to pull further apart.

    Seek answers from each other, not Washington.

    So far I’m hopeful that we’ll reflect and come back to the drawing board, but not because of evidence that this will be so.

    I have to believe that we will figure this “being human” thing out – together.

  2. As one of my mentors said:

    “I would like to rid the world of pain, I don’t know if I can do it, but at least I can try!”

    We as entrepreneurs are the starters, are the ones who get things done, so It’s on us to at least ignite the spark to a better future, I still don’t know how, nor I believe I’m the man to do it right now, but I can work my ass off to try it someday.

    I hope we can :)

  3. Now Im in Australia so maybe we don’t get the full story here, but I still think change has to come from Washington.
    It seems gun ownership laws arent ever going to change there in the States. What more does it take? What’s the underlying reason for this law?
    It’s an obvious part-solution that will help to hinder incidences like this in the future.

  4. A dubious distinction for my home state. What is this? The 4th massacre in 4 years? Maybe now we can talk about about gun laws? But is that even the answer? Those who are willing to kill themselves have little regard for laws.

  5. I don’t think legislation is the answer. We have to be the change we want in the world. Even when the gun laws are changed, we still need to address why people feel the need to massacre the helpless – until we address this sadness & pain in each other, our hearts will continue to be broken by these types of tragedies.

    • If we want immediate change, we must change the environment that surrounds us. Legislation will go a long way to reduce the amount of times this happens.
      Guns are illegal in Australia, thus there has been only one massacre here that I can recall in maybe 15-20 years. We have the same sadness & pain here too.
      And of course that doesn’t fix the underlying issue of why. But we cant just hope and pray in the meantime while we try work out how to address the problem.
      Massacres can’t be fixed by legislation, but they can be reduced.
      Don’t change the gun laws, and this will happen next year too.