Aurora, CO

As the news of the Colorado shooting broke, I was standing in a long line, in the middle of NYC, awaiting a film I had previously gotten tickets for months in advance. 

I couldn't wrap my head around what we were hearing, and as I waited for the movie to start I began reading the articles online. 12 dead. 58 injured. I had a sick feeling in my stomach that couldn't be shaken, even by the lights going down and the 'Christopher Nolan signature music' beginning to play.

It wasn't long before we were 20 minutes into the movie and I just kept thinking to myself: this is what was playing on the screen while people were dying. This was the background to terror.

Events like this always shake me to my core, however this one rattled my bones. I have been trying to examine why I was so effected by this awful awful massacre, after all I wasn't involved in it in any way. I would like to share some of my thoughts on the massacre in general. 

1. As an aspiring Actress, the movies are a big part of my life. On average I see at least 1 movie a week... that's a lot of movies people! There is no feeling I love more than a dark movie theatre, and have come to love it even more by myself. It's a way for me to escape the world and focus on something else for a while. That's why Christopher Nolan's statement perfectly summarized this set of feelings for me : "I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. "

2. My sister recently went to the Genocide memorial in Rwanda. She sent us a very touching email about her experiences touring such a sacred place. There was one paragraph that struck me: "So they have this room where people donated pictures of all the victims killed in the Genocide.  I sat down looking at these walls when I spotted a note.  It was written by a girl named Hellen to her Uncle and his family who were killed.  It started off with her saying how much she missed them and then she wrote: 

'But today, I work really hard so that I can accomplish very many things.  I did not know your dreams and passion but in those very many things I do am sure there is one that was your dream.' "

I guess this is what I am having such a hard time with. This idea that the way we honor the dead, is by living even more.It almost feels like an odd trick doesn't it? Of course there is a time to mourn, but then we must live again. We must go through life with a new fervour and appreciation for the opportunity we have to simply live

I walked home in the rain the other night, and as each raindrop hit my face I thought I am so lucky that I still get to feel this.

3. My sister found this article written about the shooting and it's beautiful. It summarizes everything we should be focusing on, feeling, and understanding about what happened. 

How do we fight back? We don't. We love back.


You Never Know...

Tonight's shift started out like any other Monday evening shift would: slow.  We were warned ahead of time that it might not be the most profitable night, so the three other servers and I settled in for a steady night of demanding Upper East Siders.

To say that my first table was rude is an understatement. These ladies pretty much assumed that they could sit wherever they want, demand free food, and treat me as if I was an enslaved servant.  And there was one lady who was the worst of all. She kept telling me I didn't know what I was talking about, that I obviously hadn't worked in this restaurant long, and that I was bothering her and she wanted to talk with my manager. It wasn't very long before my blood began to boil....

Who do these people think they are?

How dare they talk to me like this!

Maybe I should....

Thankfully my ill intented musings were interrupted by my next table of the evening, and boy what an odd pair they made.  It was a table of two gentlemen, the first, a tall African America man in his late 30's, and the other, an 85 year old Caucasian man. They were extremely nice, but kept to themselves most of the evening; so it was to my surprise while dropping off the check, that the younger gentleman stopped me with a question:

"Wanna hear a story?"

"Sure!" I replied (secretly hoping it would give me a reason not talk to the table of ladies.)

"It's a good story," the younger gentleman said with a smile creeping up on his face.

"I love good stories," I said, smiling back.

"So about 15 years ago, in 1997, I installed a unit in THIS guys house."(pointing to his dinner partner)

"What kind of unit?" I asked.

"Just an electrical one. Well, they were so pleased with me and my work, that they asked me to lunch. And do you know I've been to lunch with them every year since then."

"Well that's awful nice!" I replied, assuming that the story had ended.

"Oh that's not the half of it!" He quickly returned. 

"You see, a few years back, after his wife died, we started having dinner once a year, just me and him (pointing to the older gentleman). We were talking one evening, and he asked me where I was from. I told him, and he asked me if that's where I was born. I said yes, and then he asked me what hospital I was born at! When I told him, he said 'well I was a delivery Doctor at that hospital around the time you were born. You should go check your birth records to see if it was me.' And do you know, it was him! This Doctor here not only became my friend, but was the man that delivered me some 40 years ago!"

I had chills running up and down my spine as I looked in the direction of the Doctor. He just simply smiled and said:

"You never know."

Not 15 minutes later, one of the ladies from the rude table pulled me aside. She explained to me that the lady who had been the rudest, had a husband who had had his birthday party here 3 years ago. She went on to say that he had passed away last year, and they were here to celebrate his birthday, which would have been today.

 I was floored. Tears started brimming in my eyes and all I could think in that moment were the Doctor's words ringing in my ear.... you never know.

You never know what kind of storm God is asking someone to go through. Its our job to keep that Christ like attitude despite others that use us. After all, didn't he say to turn the other cheek? You just never know who someone might turn out to be, or what it turns out they are going.