My social media news feeds are filled with videos, articles, and posts about the tragedy that occurred in Orlando. I see endless rants about gun laws, ISIS, transgender rights, and Syrian refugees. I see it all and I am tired.
I’m tired of reading and hearing from people who believe that their lives matter more than others’. I’m tired of seeing the pain and the suffering. I’m tired of feeling like no matter how hard I try and how hard we fight, things won’t change.
A few days ago, I was able to see Charlie Puth in concert. We all know the song “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa, but few know the original version of the song. Charlie closed the show with the piano demo version of “See You Again” as a tribute to the victims of the shooting in Orlando. This was one of the most heartbreaking and inspiring moments in my life.
I couldn’t help but associate the lyric "we've come a long way from where we began" to the strides our society has made with accepting the LGBTQ+ community. We really have moved mountains and made huge leaps and bounds with acceptance, but we still have a lot of work to do.
Possibly one of the most powerful moments of the song is when Charlie sings "carry on/give me all the strength I need" for the last time before the bridge. It’s a cry for help, but it’s also a call to keep going and keep fighting. If I’ve learned anything within the past few years, it’s how powerful music can be. In this crowd of thousands of people, I felt like we were all connected. For those three and a half minutes, we all felt the same energy. Music, art, dance, writing and other forms of creativity all have the power to bring people together. The arts have the power to unite people for a common purpose: peace.
So, when tragedy strikes, I let myself feel sad and I often feel like giving up. But then I move to create something. A simple song on the ukulele, a small sketch, a photograph, a piece on Odyssey. Take your pain and your grief and turn it into something creative. It will help you cope with how you’re feeling and it will inspire positive change throughout the world.
Life is hard. Horrible and unspeakable things happen, but don’t lose hope. Amidst all of these posts of tragedies, there are posts of love. There is talk of Father’s Day and service trips and love. There is so much love inside of everyone, it’s just hard for people to realize it. When you feel like giving up, turn to love. Turn to hope. You have the power to help others unlock their potential. You can be the person to change another’s life and help them realize all of the love and beauty they have inside of them. We all have love. We all have the ability to change the world if we help people unlock their full potential to love one another. With love, acceptance and understanding, we will have peace.