I’ve been thinking a lot lately about endings and beginnings. This pandemic has ended one part of our lives — where we live happy and ignorant of what is actually happening around us — but it has created a new, and some would argue, better life for all of us. One where we are more awake, more aware.

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and far too many others, have ended the ignorance of many in favor of an awareness that has shaken them deeply.

The end of ignorance is no bad thing. When it comes suddenly and without warning it can be terrifying. You may think your world is ending and you will feel alone, scared, confused. But don’t fight it. Don’t allow yourself to hide in a blanket of ignorance and willful disregard for the truth.

Because, make no mistake, that is what it is.

When people decide they don’t want to wear masks (for whatever asinine reason they give) they are deciding, they are making a choice to be ignorant of the wellbeing of others around them. They are choosing to thumb their noses at their fellow human. They are choosing, frankly, to be assholes.

When people decide that “All Lives Matter’ instead of understanding that all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter, they are choosing to ignore the reality of their world. They are choosing to decide that they know better, that they are better because they proclaim “All lives matter” — and they never realize that what they are saying is offensive, rude and hurtful to the people who’s lives don’t seem to matter.

All of this is about the ending of one way of thinking and turning instead towards another, perhaps more enlightened way of thinking. And it doesn’t have to be painful. If only we could admit that the way we used to think was “wrong” and that we need to evolve. If only we understood that many of us need to change our minds and understand that when things change, it doesn’t mean the world has ended. It simply means that things have changed.

Change does not suddenly mean you are irrelevant.

Find a Way to Understand

We don’t all have to agree. But what we do all need to do is understand. Find some sympathy for others, I’m not asking you to empathize with every single person, just find some sympathy for another’s struggles.

Look, at this point, I am struggling with trying to understand why someone, anyone would vote for Trump. Why anyone thinks that over 150,000 deaths is acceptable or “It is what it is.” I will never understand standing behind someone who is unabashedly racist, sexist, homophobic, and quite frankly, the King Asshole of Asshole Mountain.

But I can let them think the way they need to think. I don’t have to be their friend. I don’t even have to conversate with them. I can turn away and just realize, “Okay, we are never going to agree on this.” And I can continue to voice my concerns, fight for what I believe in, and make myself heard when it is necessary. I can vote for a candidate I don’t love, but who I know will be better than Donald Trump.

Is this a form of understanding? I don’t know.

Now, after these last four years, I am finding more and more that it doesn’t feel quite right does it? It still feels kind of icky. And that is because what Trump stands for is hatred. When he won in 2016 I wept because I knew, in my heart, that hatred had won. I knew that he would hurt this country, and I hate that I was right. That so many of us were right.

In 2020, we cannot allow that to happen again. We have to show the world that hatred does not rule the U.S.. We have to show ourselves that hatred does not rule the U.S.

This is all a bit preachy, and not at all what I intended to write about when I opened this page.

I suppose my point is that we have to learn to accept change, or be forever doomed to live with disastrous consequences, and maybe that’s what we deserve.

I think, though, that if we find a way to understand each other, to be civil to one another, that we can come back to a place of balance in this world. Not perfect peace, not all love and happiness, but balance. Because right now, we are dangerously out of balance, and if we tip over, I am afraid what that will mean for all of us because as bad as things seem right now, they can get worse if we don’t do something.

Let’s do better people.

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

-Cornel West

Published by jessicaleemetcalf

JL Metcalf lives in the Ocean State with her artist husband Frankie, and their artistic black cat Shadow. She one day hopes to live in a Hobbit Hole surrounded by her friends and family in the Shire making jams and jellies, while also writing many leather-bound books. She has self-published four novels: The Last Daughter of Lilith, Coming Undone: Musings on Life, Love and Hobbits, Menagerie of the Weird, and the sequel to Last Daughter of Lilith, called Dawn Seed. JL can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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