#StandWithOrlando Words Fail Me.

Orlando victims

Words fail me. I've said that phrase so many times in the past few months and especially since Sunday in the wake of the Orlando massacre. 

I write a blog, weekly I do so much other writing in various genres, and I teach writing, but lately it seems that the the situation that should inspire the writing moves beyond words. And I'm not a visual-oriented person, so I'm not really adept at welding words to images or just using images to express an idea or feeling. Again, words fail me. 

(And thank you, Dame Maggie Smith, for giving me that phrase you used indelibly in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). 

Thus I'm not going to repeat what already has been said, currently being said, and will be said about the unspeakable evil and horror. CNN will do that for you. 

One story really stood out for me as I purposely let the images and words wash over me as the reporting on this incident unfolded. Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, mother of 11, 49 years old, was at the Pulse nightclub dancing with her gay son, Isaiah Henderson, age 21. According to the New York Daily News, Brenda saw the shooter point his weapon at them. She told her son to get down and took the bullet for him. 

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool

The obvious response: What mother would not give her life for this way for a child? Yes, the most primeval, powerful instinct was going on here. She died but in doing so made sure a part of her life survived. 

But how many parents who have rejected their LGBTQ children, especially those who do in the name of religion, would do the same? How many parents like this have actually treated said children as dead to them because of a belief system that relies on scapegoating victims and sacred violence? 

Brenda was a victim, but she broke through this mechanism by transcending that cycle of violence because she voluntarily gave her life for the life of another. 

And others in the club did the same, for complete strangers, but whom they saw as neighbors whom they should love as themselves. 

No one who died here was purposely and ultimately falsely seeking a martyrdom like the advocates of sacred violence often do, and none of the survivors are calling for new victims or scapegoats to appease them like one current politician is calling for. 

I've lost faith in a God we've made in our own image who creates destructive boundaries that are built on the sacrifice of victims, but I've learned from the victims and the survivors that we can create hope and love. “All God has is thee,” is an old Quaker saying. It's up to us to find God in each other. Let's start by really beating our swords into ploughshares and choosing life. 

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