This morning when I woke up, I checked my phone per usual. What I found next to all of my friends liking my Instagram pictures from the night before were updates from the Washington Post.
Report of 1 Dallas Police Officer killed. 4 Wounded.
Updated Death Count in Dallas Sniper Shooting: 3 DPD Officers Killed, 7 wounded.
My heart sank. I thought, "Oh no we are now hunting police officers."
I learned that the five officers murdered were protecting a peaceful protest against the recent police shootings in Baton Rouge and St. Paul. Now that I'm living in Baltimore, I couldn't help but think of the riots that tore this city apart. I was a bit uneasy as I began my day.
Before I got to work I stopped in Starbucks for one of those breakfast sandwiches. The lady taking my order looked at me said, "I really like that shirt and tie combination you are wearing. It's looks really nice." I thanked her for the compliment and she was super sweet about it. It put a smile on my face and frankly a little swagger in my step. Bottom line; this simple gesture made me feel good.
I've been thinking about all of this throughout the day. What do we do when senseless acts of violence erupts and causes a divide where we argue over who's lives should matter more? We shouldn't respond with more violence, we just end up with this. I can't persecute or lock up anybody. Options?
We can certainly begin by sending out our thoughts and prayers to the victims.
Prayer is an action that can be done in two ways; one, by yourself in private, like Jesus explains in Matthew 6:6. The other is with your communities, like churches or schools. It's important to remember to raise your heart and mind to God, turning away from attachments; those are always the best type of prayers. Prayer is fundamental and important. Let's not forget that when tragedies like this hit and frustrations pour out and we feel prayer is an empty gesture. Believe me it's not.
But I think we can do a little more...
We can be like the barista at the Starbucks in Lutherville, MD who took two minutes of her day and complimented me.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if compliments were more a part of our daily lives?
What if we had to compliment others with whom we disagreed? Sincerely compliment them. You have to see him or her in a way that God sees that person; as love. That can be a powerful thing. That should be a powerful thing. One that we use to combat the divisiveness we are experiencing as a country right now.
This idea shouldn't be hard to implement, right? We can do it. You and I just need to show up every day. We need to take care of our part. I challenge you to compliment someone. Start with one of your friends or a stranger. Pick someone who you've been at odds with recently and begin with a compliment. Let's see what we can do. Be the example that turns the tide, even if you think it's small and won't matter. Remember this round of violence happened because a thing so small (taillight) was broken.
Of course, if venturing out and complimenting someone is a bit too much right now, then at least bring people donuts. It like the same thing.
The point is, let's not forget our humanity and notice each other a little more and tell each other that. Or like I said, bring fried dough with icing.
I wish you peace this weekend.