Finding beauty after tragedy

Finding beauty after tragedy

It’s important to look for beauty in hard times. Man, I had the most surreal few weeks.

Last week I shared a video about how when crazy stuff happens in this world we think somehow that it could never happen to us – “It happens to other people.”

I talked about this because I had just found out that a family friend was one of the 58 shot and killed in Las Vegas. It’s here in case you missed it. Heartbreaking and surreal are the only words I could come up with as I tried to get my head around it all.

This past week another event that happens only to “other people” happened to me – I live in Sonoma County and I am right in the middle of this fire and devastation. My home is safe, but yesterday I evacuated everything.

Surreal does not begin to describe what it’s like to stand inside your home and decide what to take and what to leave. Even more surreal is walking out your front door for what could be the very last time.

And it’s really easy to get really pessimistic about our future. Even depressed.

And believe me, there have been moments this week, BUT I am not depressed or pessimistic. I’d like to share why.

First Las Vegas.

A wonderful former student of mine, Nikki Rene Souza lives in Las Vegas. When she watched my video from last Sunday, she reached out to share what life has been like since the tragedy.

Her email was so eloquent and heartfelt, and she closed with this:

“Someone has left a cross with the name of each victim at a vigil near the site of the shooting. If you would like me to leave any particular item (candle, flower, bottle of rum, etc) at Kurt’s, please let me know and I will make time in the next few days to do so. Thank you so much for your words. I always find peace in them.”
-Nikki Souza

I responded with a huge thank you and later that evening she sent me this:

Kurt’s cross was the first one in the lineup. Finding space for the flowers and candle I bought was almost a challenge- he had so much there already. There was a Coors Light and notes about how wonderful he was. For the first time since the shooting, I finally let myself weep. I’ve been holding everything in, I don’t know why. I cried for what felt like an eternity, sitting there with someone playing the saxophone just letting go of everything I’ve been bottling up for the past week.

Tell Ward I thank him for allowing me to be part of saying goodbye to Kurt. Tell his family I thank them for being part of raising a human being that left an impact on this planet so intense that I, someone who only knows him through you, could feel his presence there. I can tell his was a wonderful soul. Thank you.

I forwarded her email to Kurt’s family. They were grateful for such kindness from a “stranger”.

Knowing Nikki, her gesture wasn’t surprising, but I did think that what she did and what she shared was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever experienced from another human being.

Finding beauty in tragedy
The picture Nikki sent

What I’m trying to share, what I’m trying to express is really nothing new – that in tragedy is when the beauty of people really shines. That almost sounds cliche until you are smack in the middle of a tragedy. It’s then that you actually experience it versus say it – that the beautiful truth of it is there is so much more goodness in this world than bad.

There really is.

So don’t let the negative news and horrible people beat you down. There really is SO much good in this world.

And remember, the best way out of pessimism and depression is to give ourselves. So go make this world better today, someway, somehow.

My very best,