I had planned to write about Christmas and how my lack of faith plays out during the holidays each year. I had planned something sentimental and soaring and sweet.
But now I can’t do it. I am too revolted by the state of the world to fake a syrupy essay. Being a first worlder who lives in relative safety, this mood will likely pass as the latest massacre fades from the news, but for now I can’t muster more than a lashing of words:
Why, why, why does humanity dedicate so much of its energy to fostering hate?
Because I am not keen on engaging in nasty debates, I don’t make a habit of collecting data about politics and other hot-button issues. When others expound, I just wave them off. I see no use—neither one of us will ever change the other’s mind, and it upsets me to tangle with argumentative people. I feel deeply with my heart. I know what kind of justice satisfies my own sense of honor. Unleashed and informed with statistics and sources, I would lead an army of peaceniks into the mouth of a cannon.
I can’t, though, because that’s not my destiny in life. I’m not a crusader, I’m a mother to three children, one of them still young. I have parents to care for. I’m striving to become a respected novelist. All I have is my one voice to make a small difference. I shall use it, therefore, to link myself to the world through essays and stories.
I watch this website’s statistics with great fascination. Our readers hail not only from North America, but from Israel and Iraq, France and Britain, the Philippines, South Africa, and also Australia. I imagine you all are similar people to me, with similar hopes and similar dreams. I’m certain that, given the chance, you’d all prefer to live in your little slice of heaven without fearing you’re the object of someone’s revulsion. Peace—what the vast majority of humanity craves.
Yet again and again we are forced to confront the foul depths of depravity, often inspired by the color of someone’s skin, or their culture or spiritual beliefs. We wake every day to some new atrocity perpetrated on innocent children, on people of color struggling to find their way in this world. Just trying to bloody breathe without a gun jammed in their faces. How does spraying bullets around a school better our existence? Who the hell has the time for spending one’s short passage on earth devoted to destruction, death, and despair? There’s no point to it all, no one can ever convince me of that.
I seek beauty and love and a small plot of land that I can call home. I live for family and friends, and for the hope that my voice will be heard round the world. Heard by sensible people, maybe someone who can finally stand up to the madness. Hate is so futile. It spirals forever into infinite blackness. I don’t care who your God is, I refuse to believe He endorses this path, and maybe that is why I refuse to subscribe to any religion.
I believe in myself and the small gestures I make. A kind word. A hug. A smile for a person who’s having a rough time. I help when I can, but I’m only one voice. A voice who’s tired of the arguing, hating, killing, and hideous waste. Who am I to expound on petty musings about faith? I’m fortunate in myriad ways, from the color of my skin to my citizenship in the best nation on earth. I have no concept of what it would feel like to cradle the shredded remains of an innocent child, to throw back my head and scream despair to the wind, to somehow go on living after the funeral is over.
I am fortunate, indeed, and I’m keenly aware of my ineffective role in the big scheme. Instead, I transmit my voice through the ether: People everywhere, I love those of you who want only to love. I kiss both your cheeks and give you my hand. I am honored and gratified to call you my friend.
Peace and safety to all.
For more of Colleen’s letters, click here!