As I wrote “The Wealthy Spirit”, there were a bunch of stories that didn’t make the cut. This is one of those.
I cried when I wrote it. I cried when the news came of the mass shooting this past weekend in Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas! I love country music! It could have easily been me out there on the killing ground. Or you.
“Somebody ought to tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit every minute of every day. Do it, I say, whatever you want to do, do it now.”—Michael Landon, after terminal cancer diagnosis
Oprah broke down crying, put her hand up to the camera and said, “Go to break, please.” I needed a break myself. It was the day after two students ran amok with guns and bombs at Columbine High School, killing themselves and thirteen others. I cry again as I remember it, determined to use one page, this one day, to memorialize these loved ones who left the earth this way, so suddenly, so finally, so bloodily.
Hearts ached for the loss. Minds and voices questioned, “Why? How? What can we do to change this, stop this, control this?” The raging gun control debate flared again, all the usual suspects appeared on television shows to give their opinions, make their suggestions. But the beat goes on. This has happened before. I don’t want to write the next words: It will happen again. Soon, it does—in Oxnard, California. Then again in Santee.
I weep for the disenfranchised, the lonely, the quiet, the Others whose hearts seethe and roil with longing for belonging they feel denied. They blanch at the names they hear, “Nerd. Jerk. Loser.” Bitterly, they turn up the volume on the demon radio station in their minds and order the angel voices to pipe down. They feed the flames of anger and madness with the dark side of the moon: Harsh music, horror movies, hideous dreams of revenge. Some few take the final step and act out their rage. West Paducah, Kentucky. Springfield, Oregon. Jonesboro, Arkansas. The world is filled with the images of just how to do it.
And I weep for the beautiful ones, dreaming their golden dreams of prom dates and lettermen jackets. They take their beginning steps on life’s stage, safe in the sunshine of their parents’ love, their friends’ regard, their teachers’ praise. Birthday parties and ballet and baseball fill their lives between class times. All the while they thirst for knowledge and possibility. Some of them spread their angel wings and became angels unexpectedly one sunny afternoon. “In the midst of life we are in the midst of death.”
The ancient contest of darkness and light, devil or angel, sun versus moon, takes center stage once more. This is the essence of all wars, all hatreds. On which side of the battle do you stand? Are yours children of the sun or dwellers in the dark? Do they have empathy for people who are not like themselves? Do you? Listen to what they say; watch what they do. Then listen to what you say; watch what you do. The lessons of your life are being passed on.
Oprah wept that day. Many of us wept with her. When will we weep again?
It comes again, too soon, too often. Sandy Hook, Orlando, Virginia Tech, San Bernardino. Now Las Vegas takes the deadliest crown. The New York Times headline reads “447 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress”.
We know for whom the bell tolls—it tolls for We.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.”—St. Francis of Assisi
Please feel free to copy this article and use it wherever you like. Just include the following “author box” for attribution:
Chellie Campbell is the creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops, and author of The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy. She has been prominently quoted as a financial expert in the Los Angeles Times, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Family Circle, Woman’s World and more than 50 popular books. She can be reached at Chellie@chellie.com