I originally finished this article last Friday, five days before I had to turn it in.
In all my years of writing these articles, being that far ahead of deadline was a first for me.
But I wrote a different article last week. A very different article with a very different message.
Then, I woke up Sunday morning. I was making waffles for my daughter, Salem, when I turned on the news and learned of the nightclub shooting in Orlando.
I could not believe what I saw and heard. I still can’t.
I know I will never understand why this happened or how someone could do something like this. The feelings of pain, sadness, heartbreak, emptiness and helplessness were then — and continue to be — overwhelming.
I know I am not alone and that many people share these sentiments.
And as I am standing in my kitchen with tears running down my face, I wonder what I am supposed to tell my little girl? How can I let her grow up in a world where such hate exists?
As the week has gone on and more information has been gathered, the more horrific this nightmare has become and it gets harder to make sense of this senseless tragedy.
Initial feelings of sadness and grief are easily morphed into anger and hate.
For many (including myself, at times), the reaction has been rage. It is easy to be irate at the monster who had absolutely no respect for human life.
It is natural to be angry because there are mothers and fathers who lost their babies and husbands and wives who lost their partners.
This is a completely appropriate reaction to have in the face of such adversity.
However, watching almost every television news outlet’s coverage and viewing posts on social media, the reaction of those who have been affected by this tragedy has not been anger or hate. It has been quite the opposite.
Growing up, my father used to say, “It’s not about action, it’s about reaction.”
Well, the families and friends of the 49 innocent victims have reacted and their reaction is love.
I watched footage of first responders putting themselves in harm’s way to retrieve one of the injured victims and video clips of club patrons carrying strangers outside to safety.
A mother whose young son was one of the victims gave an interview and, instead of cursing her son’s murderer, she begged for peace.
She reminded the world we are on this Earth for only a short time and we should spend that time helping each other instead of hating each other.
Thousands of people in Orlando and all over Florida and the Southeast have waited in line for hours in 100-degree heat to donate blood, while others have given water and snacks to those waiting to donate.
Equality Florida, which started the GoFundMe Orlando webpage, has raised more than $3 million for the victims and their families.
So, on June 12, when the worst of humanity reared its evil head, the best of humanity responded and came fighting right back. It has been nothing short of inspiring.
That is what I will tell my daughter.