In Search of Hope
In the wake of shootings, aim for living your best life
by Tyeshia Alston
It’s crazy how overnight things have changed. In a blink of an eye, many have died from the hands of another. It’s painful to think that these catastrophic events were caused by some sort of prejudice that was the root behind it all. Those simple itty bitty things have caused many to fall. Many have fallen because of colors. Red against blue, white against black and now the boys in blue are in the midst of a wild, wild West cowboy showdown. Many have fallen because of difference of opinions, many were sacrificed for the sake of the flag and many have fallen just because someone simply does not like another or is just plain mad.
It’s sad to say, but we are living in a society where the things that are truly important go lacking. So many issues without positive resolutions have overshadowed the essence of the real problem at hand. The lack of compassion for all of humanity is the biggest problem of all. For instance, there have been far too many women who have been injured by another woman just because she felt as if the other woman was trying to take her man; never stopping to consider that the relationship will never last if their trust for their mate resembles a cigarette lighter’s flame. No one needs the flame of a cigarette lighter for long. The flame is only needed for a moment to fulfill its mission and then the flame is gone. If the flame of your relationship only sparks when someone pushes a button then I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the other woman is not your problem. Your problem started where your trust ended.
In June, many people died by the hands of a shooter and today another man died by the hands of a shooter. Both were senseless acts of hatred. Both were committed with the vengeance of hatred but only one was televised through the lens of compassion.
Orlando brought the world together while Baton Rouge and Minneapolis set us apart. Esau and Jacob are still battling in the womb—only this time we are all being consumed.
A few months ago, when the tragedy in Orlando happened, I contacted a friend of mine who shared with me her feelings about what took place. My friend Tara is a native Texan who had her share of the mountain life of Colorado. When I asked Tara how she identifies herself, she stated that she does not “categorize herself as anything. I prefer to just say that I’ve never been interested in men.”
Therefore, I thought it would be best that she would share her story to shed some light on the Orlando issue. Tara informed me that her first thought and feelings about the Orlando attack was in “assuming that it was an ISIS hate crime towards people in general.” When I asked how was she able to get through these recent crises, she said, “I did not have anyone to turn to. In fact, I released my stress and anger while at the gym.” I hate to say it, but there are far too many people who, like my friend Tara, do not have anyone to turn to. There are many reasons why they are alone in difficult times. One reason is due to the lack of understanding of another person’s pain. Another reason is the harsh judgment from people when they are categorized as someone/something different. Compassion should be at the forefront of mankind, but oftentimes it is left behind.
Many of us are tired of all the bloodshed here at home. Right in our backyards people are losing the most valuable and important gift that any man or woman can ever receive. They are losing their lives. Life is precious but, if we are not careful, life can pass us by really quickly because time waits for no man.
Many Americans can relate to Tara and how she felt about the Orlando crisis. For African Americans we can relate to the feelings of multiple hate crimes. People must understand that we have to learn to accept one another because at the end of the day only God can judge us.
Black on black crime is just as bad as police brutality. In fact, it is worse because we are killing one another when we need each other to survive. It’s easy to blame the next person for the wrongful actions that we meditated on before we carried them out, but the truth is we all have to face the harsh consequences of our wrongdoing. However, it is not our job to extend the ultimate punishment by taking another person’s life. After all, it is a life that you did not give.
The Orlando shooter did just that. He planned the hurtful act so exactly that he involved his wife, and, when I asked Tara how she felt about the choice that the wife made, she responded by saying “this could have been prevented if this b!%tch would have reached out to authorities.” She went on to say that “she needs to take the charges that her husband would have been charged with.”
Life is too precious and sometimes it is cut off too short. Therefore, since no one knows when it is their time to leave this great planet than we should make every effort to make our lives beautiful and enjoyable.
As always, I must continue to encourage my readers to do their best to live their best life. Therefore, strive hard to make your book of life as colorful and bright as you possibly can. Life is too short for just one dull page to be written in your book.
Therefore, in search for hope as you write your book, make it beautiful and may the words on your last page be written, “I’ve lived my best life.”
Tyeshia Alston is an HIV-positive AIDS activist and educator living in Dallas, Texas. Ms. Alston strives to build hope, increase faith, and encourage others to live their best life. Ms. Alston is a mother of a handsome two-year-old boy. She is driven to educate others about HIV/AIDS by creating community awareness programs and providing HIV/AIDS services through her organization, SAAVED INC. Ms. Alston has traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with legislators about better healthcare access and how the disease has impacted communities which she serves and has served on panels for National Minority AIDS Council and other local organizations. Lastly, she is known to others by bringing her message to local talk shows and radio stations, working to do her part in ending AIDS. To learn more about Ms. Alston’s work, go to www.saaved.org and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email her at [email protected].