I live in Minnesota. Today I was at the Mall of America with my two daughters. We were walking around the mall, along with thousands of other people, enjoying a carefree afternoon. Before we left, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat at the food court. It took us awhile, but we finally found an open table and sat down. As we were eating, I was looking around at the greatness of this mall. I was in the largest mall in the world. Over 40 million people visit this mall each year. Many of those people travel a great distance to get here, many even from other countries. Some of these visitors actually plan their entire vacations around this magnificent mall. I sat in the food court and noticed all of the people surrounding me, families with small children and strollers, teenagers hanging out with their friends, parents, grandparents, tourists walking around with their suitcases, every age, color, and nationality coming together at this great place…the largest mall in the entire world. That is when sadness overcame me.
All of these people surrounding me were enjoying their day, laughing and being carefree, just like my daughters and I were. That’s when the heartache and overwhelmingness of the world we live in hit me like a ton of bricks. My mind wandered to the horrific pictures on the news of Las Vegas just a few short weeks ago. Pictures of people whose lives were forever changed. People who, just minutes before, were enjoying their lives, happy and carefree, listening to music, celebrating vacations/birthdays/weddings/all of life’s amazing moments. These thoughts, while sitting at the largest mall in the world, made me realize how vulnerable we are. How sad and ‘scary’ life can be. How mad it makes me that innocent people, who were just out enjoying their lives, can be gunned down by one madman whose motives we will never understand. How helpless I feel as a parent, knowing that this is the world my children are living in and there is nothing I can do to make it better.
Then I realized, I am part of the problem. These exact thoughts are part of the problem. Shortly after the shooting in Vegas, I saw a Facebook post that declared “evil is winning.” This whole mentality is part of the problem. Evil is not winning, the world is not an awful, scary, and bad place. There are some horrible things that happen in the world, but there is far more good than bad. In Las Vegas, one person carried out a horrific act. But, in response to that horrific tragedy look at all of the stories of love, help, and selflessness that happened. That, my friends, is what our job has to be. To be part of the solution, we have to love more, help our neighbors, smile at strangers, spread kindness, and continue to let love win. There is a quote from Alice in Wonderland where Alice tells the Mad Hatter “This is impossible” and the Mad Hatter replies “Only if you believe it is”. Our thoughts become things, and our beliefs become our reality. Believing the world is full of fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety breeds more fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety, and now your whole world consists of only those feelings. Our bodies are full of energy, an energy that we send out into the world. And, just like the old song says “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.” It is our job as human beings, who occupy this earth with billions of fellow human beings, to send out the best possible energy that we can. That is how we can save the world, by spreading the love.
In that moment I decided I was not going to sit at the Mall of America and feel scared, or sad. I acknowledged my thoughts and sent out love energy to everyone impacted by the tragedy in Las Vegas, and then I decided to spread the love. I looked at my daughters and laughed extra hard at their silliness. I smiled at the grandparents sitting next to me with their two grandchildren in a stroller. I complimented a stranger on her sweater, and I made a joke to the teenage boys standing by our table who were engaged in a friendly debate. I did the only thing that I can do to make the world a better place, I spread every bit of love I possibly could. And, hopefully, because of my love, all of those other people spread their love as well. Love will save the world.
The world certainly can be a scary place, and maybe it can be full of sadness..but just like the Mad Hatter said, only if you believe it is.