Whilst I cooked supper for the family this evening, hundreds upon hundreds of people gathered in Bristol to unite in love and solidarity for all those lives lost and wounded in Orlando on Sunday.
The vigil photos are a riot of colourful aliveness. Rainbow flags flutter in the breeze; balloons, adorned with notes of hope, float skyward. Songs were sung and I’m certain tears were shed.
Even though I was not there, it is humbling to witness humanity at its best. Tender. Together. Full of love and compassion. Colour, creed, gender, sexuality, age and ability are of no consequence here. This was a flock of freedom, tolerance and generosity of spirit.
It is hard to understand such heartbreaking atrocities, but I know that no-one in their right mind could commit such an act.
Difference is something we learn to see.
On the bus a few months ago, a grey-haired gentleman, in brown, peaked hat, sports shoes and navy coat was sat next to a young, wiry lad. This lad had close cut, dark curly hair. He too wore a navy coat and trainers.
A gorgeous, black-eyed boy, of around three, boarded the bus. He was dressed for the weather; snow boots and a cream woolly hat with ear muffs and plaits. It had a red zig-zag pattern across the brow and hid his dead straight hair with the tufty crown. He was striking.
As his mother wrestled with the pushchair, trying to settle the baby, he sat upon one of the fold-up seats. The men, young and old, shared obvious delight at the sight of this child; they couldn’t help but grin.
The bus pulled away, and, as it did so, the boy jolted.
The two men, of different ages and races, instinctively moved as one, hands out, readying to steady the tiny tot should he need it.
My eyes filled up and my throat closed over a little. The beauty of the moment caught me.
The world suddenly felt so small on this bus ride.
On the surface, the mother, her child, the young lad and the old man had little in common. They spanned generations; crossed cultures and creeds.
It is easy to imagine how they might have met each other with fear or uncertainty under different circumstances. This kind of insecure thinking tightens us up and stops us from seeing clearly. It leads us to do, or say, things we would never dream of otherwise. It strips us of our human kindness. It makes us judge others less favourably; closes our eyes to the beauty of diversity, of natural human variance.
As I watched the scene unfold, all I could think was “remember the child in you”.
We all were this once.
We still are.
All this dwells constant within us, resting beneath the make-believe of our minds.
In the words of Brenda Ueland, may you have a “minute to minute awareness of what is true, good and lovely in everybody” (and also in yourself) this week.
Much Love, Angela xo
“The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens. And the true sign of grace in a man is his ability to look at something that is supposedly ugly, or just different from himself, and see beauty”