Letter To The Editor: A Heartfelt Lesson For Us All

Los Alamos

I made the decision about two years ago to stop using Facebook for anything other than yard sales and private messages. I stopped looking at it pretty much completely. However recently, I jumped on for something and took a quick look at some of the Los Alamos pages. And I was instantly reminded of why I decided to “quit” Facebook.

The hateful words filling the page weren’t what disturbed me most. It was the hateful response that immediately rose up in me. It was the snap judgements I made about people I don’t know and the vicious words I wanted to post to cut them down. And these aren’t total strangers. These are my neighbors, my colleagues, my grocery clerks, my kids’ teachers. This is my community!

What has happened to us Los Alamos? (And I ask this FULLY including myself!) When did we become so destructive to our fellow man? When did we decide that it is okay to attack and tear down our fellow human beings because they see the world differently or have different opinions to us?

COVID isn’t what’s killing us most. Politics isn’t what’s dividing us most. It’s our lack of compassion, humility and respect for each other that’s doing it. It’s our refusal to acknowledge the human being beneath the opinion we oppose. It’s the way we allow self-righteousness to outweigh relationship.

I realized two years ago that if I continued down the path I was going, there was a good chance I could end up bitter and resentful with no room for anything else. And even worse, I was dragging others with me. I don’t want to be that person. I want to use words to build others up not tear them down. I want to be humble enough to admit I’m not perfect and not always right and learn from the diversity around me. I want to be able to let go when others can’t, and live life with joy, excitement and hope. 

I want to be the change, not the problem. Not easy. But I realized, I can’t change anyone until I change myself. I encourage you, be the person you want others to be. Even if they aren’t. Respect others, even if they don’t deserve it. Fill your life with things that destroy bitterness, instead of feeding it. If there is one thing these last few years has shown us, it is that we need each other. We need relationship. We need community. And we have an amazing one, so let’s not destroy it.