The past few weeks have been a struggle. If you thought terrible ideals just went away or if you’ve never seen them or experienced them in action, I encourage you to embrace this newfound knowledge with an open mind and a forgiving heart.
I have always had a hard time dealing with hate, racism, and bigotry. I have always experienced it—and that probably won’t change anytime soon. My friends and co-workers have always been there to offer a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on during times of grief and dismay. All the same, for some reason, they have not been able to adequately understand what I was feeling at the time. However, in the midst of situations regarding hate, racism, and bigotry, I have found solace in sports and recreation.
On the field or on the court, every label disappears. Age, race, religion, gender—nothing matters as much as the experience of humans working together toward a common goal. Furthermore, I have to assume that the freedom and happiness one feels playing the game because they love it is the main reason for participating. The experience shared and felt among the players is an essential commonality; everyone is able to connect on a deeper level. In the strength training gyms, everyone within that area has a common goal: to become a healthier, stronger individual by using the tool of exercise. Everyone there respects one another because, in a sense, we all have similar struggles and goals in that space.
When we begin to feel that we are above someone or fundamentally different, then we see fear which is quickly followed by hate. The moment we begin to think and believe within our deepest selves that we have opposing goals and struggles is when we begin to fall apart from one another. As we reflect on the issues we (as human kind) are facing, we must realize that hate begets hate. The only true answer is love, compassion, forgiveness, and grace.
The feelings we have towards each other during sport or exercise are the same feelings that make us human in the first place. I wholeheartedly believe that hate’s very existence has to be manifested and created, but the choice to love is natural, easy-flowing, and ever-present. As people, we must understand our history and where we came from, but more importantly we need to know who we are. Look within yourself and in this moment begin to accept and love who you are and every flaw you have. Then, in the most fundamental, basic, essential way try to see your reflection in others.
In this time of confusion, anger, fear, anxiety, and sadness, we must remind each other that no matter what we are here together. We must find our hope and love for one another. The disaster in southeast Texas and Louisiana can be seen as an example of love and humanity with neighbors helping neighbors regardless of race, creed, religion, politics, or income as they’re confronted by a life-threatening disaster. The outreach and support gives perspective to a life that promotes unity. Ultimately, regardless of the malicious intentions of others, love one another. Unconditionally, unequivocally, love yourself and love others.
As we emerge as future leaders and influencers of the next generation, I encourage positive and consistent dialogue. If we are not 100% honest with each other, then we are unable to analyze where specific viewpoints originated. The origins will bring light to understanding and knowledge which will lead to healing. I leave you with prayer and positive thoughts of hope and encouragement not only for the way we treat each other, but also for all the families impacted by this dark side of human existence. Go in love, go in peace, and arrive together.