As I was going through the checkout recently, a lady commented on the national paper that lay across my groceries. “Tragedy. It’s everywhere!” Her remark referred to an inferno-like picture of a truck crash in Singleton after it had been stolen and driven recklessly down the New England Highway causing chaos along the way.
She went on to comment about many of the other tragic stories, that now seem commonplace, sprawled across our media. Floods, fires, family violence, and of course the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.
I was married in Las Vegas so it will always have a special connection for me. But for others it was now connected with bloodshed and death, as it took its place in America’s modern history as the worst mass shooting. Not a title anyone wants to read about, let alone own.
It seems the lady in the checkout is right: there is tragedy everywhere. But while I feel deep empathy and compassion for the victims of tragedies, I can’t help but think that we as a society need to do something constructive with it. To somehow turn tragedy into transformation.
Grieving is an essential part of the process, but wallowing or harping on the negativity that is so prevalent, seems to only breed more negativity and despair. For inspiration, we’ve only got to look to our national torchbearer against domestic violence, Rosie Batty. If she can turn her tragic event into something positive, then surely so can we.
So what can we do? We can light a candle and send prayers to the victims and their families – don’t underestimate the power of love. (There have been studies demonstrating the power of prayer and energy healing. And if it’s our natural response in a crisis, then go with it.) We can take action on matters that matter to us by writing to our federal MPs. In this small, but pivotal way we may be able to have influence over critical issues such as gun control. In light of recent events, surely preventing another Port Arthur massacre must remain a priority?
We can also live life to the fullest, each and every day. No one knows for sure when their time will be up, so we might as well make the most of what we have. Spend time with family; take up that hobby; see the world; follow those dreams; hug more; laugh more; find joy in your work; and be thankful as often as possible.
Sharon Halliday is a Eurobodalla author and blogger.