I want to preface this post by saying that it's late and I'm pretty emotional right now, so I'm unsure of whether I should be blogging, but I have a lot of thoughts and need to release them or sort them or whatever this is. A lot has happened over the course of this summer, and a lot in just this one week. The pulse shooting, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's murders, the attack on Dallas police officers during a peaceful protest, the suicide bombers in Istanbul's Airport, the attack in Nice, the bombings in Iraq, in Syria, and so many more. There is so much pain in this "modern" world that we live in, and it feels like there is more and more everyday. Seeing all this pain, all this hate, scares me. Scares me because I feel hopeless and helpless, watching these things happen, over and over, while the world mourns endlessly. Scares me to imagine how a human can do these things to other human beings. Scares me to try to comprehend the pure amount of life that has been lost. And I don't mean life as a numeric value, but life as in the rich and complex collection of stories, memories, experiences, personality, family, and thoughts that make up one single person. Most of us have unfortunately been touched by death. Losing one family member, one neighbor, one teacher, or one friend is already incomprehensible as it is. All of the life that existed within them, stopped. Now trying to imagine that pain multiplied thousands and thousands of times for millions of people around the world. How can anyone sleep at night, eat their meals, and go on living after causing that kind of pain?
When Matt Damon spoke at our graduation, he left us with the words "turn towards the problems you see." And naturally he means to face the problems head on, to try and make a difference in this world. But all I can do right now is to turn towards the problems and stare at them in absolute paralyzing fear. When I heard these words at graduation, tears welled up in my eyes, not because I was fired up and ready to take on the world, but because I was afraid of the world and I was convinced that I could not possibly make a difference. There is a lot of beauty around us. There is love, and compassion, and wonderful people making differences in other's lives, even in the smallest ways. And multiplied by hundreds of millions, one could say that there is much more "good" than "bad". But somehow violence has a way of obscuring your vision and drawing your complete attention to one ugly mark on a much larger and much more complex surface. I'm scared, but I want to help expand that surface and add my own small marks. Maybe only a handful of people will notice those marks, will be affected by my attempts, but being able to make a difference in a handful of lives might be something worth living for.
I want to end this post by sending my condolences to the family and loved ones of the MIT student who was hit and killed earlier today by an off-duty cop who was drunk driving. I'm stunned and heartbroken to hear this news about a recent graduate who had his whole life in front of him.
Human lives are so fragile. How do we live so that when we die, we can die without regret?