Once Upon a Time, I was in a large color bag. The bag was made of thick paper and had handles. I was surrounded by light tissue paper that had tiny little sparkles. Then the paper was lifted off and I was surrounded by light. There was a girl there who lifted me out of the bag. She was smiling, she had a big gap between her teeth. She held me close and thanked someone close to her for the best Hanukkah present ever. That is when I met my best friend ever and I am proud to say we are still the closest of friends.
That is why I can say today to wake up to a text alert that says there is a shooter near your home that is attacking people that are the same as my friend. I have never been more terrified in my life. A thousand thoughts ran through my head. Is my friend safe, will I be safe, will Berry be safe? How does someone react when everything that is around them is threatened just because of where they pray?
Once you stop worrying about yourself and your immediate loved ones you expand your search. You look at social media and see how other people are doing. After the first click, your heart stops again. “8 dead”, “Cops Shot”, “Swat Team Called In”. Videos of people crying fill your screen and all you can do is keep clicking through your feed. Horror after horror.
I went tonight to the vigil for the people who died today at the temple of life synagogue, a place I have been to quite a few times for services and holidays. I was surrounded by so many people that were so filled with love. Race, religion and, sexual orientation didn’t matter. All that mattered is that we were all there for each other, that we supported one another when we were at our lowest point. It was important that we realized that we are not alone as long as we can support one another when life is bad and people want to hurt what they do not understand.
My heart is with the people who were hurt in the shooting that took place less than a mile from my home. I swear that as long as there are people who are trying to hurt others then there will be people fighting hatred with love.
Mark Oliver Wizard Goldstein