When words fail you, what can you say?

Words are not supposed to escape writers. After all, is it not our mandate to use them, wisely, powerfully, pointedly?

In the face of so much bad news – from the post-Hurricane Maria public health issues of Puerto Rico to the single white male slaughter in Las Vegas to the rise in alt-right party voters in Germany – I am at a loss for words. My instinct is to comfort, to hold a candle, to lighten the world with all that is good in it. It feels, on some level, hollow to do so.

Bodensee_Juni_2017_sunsetAnd yet that inner optimist who looks at the bright side of life, nearly blinded by the silver lining in the cloud of tears, brings me back to that which is working.

Look to the helpers, I said to my son as we cringed at the nightly news images. They are there. They are always there.

My children were too young to witness 9/11, but they carry the sorrow of our collective history with them. They have heard enough stories and seen enough footage to know it marked the beginning of the end of the United States as I had known it.

A place of hope. A place of courage. A place of possibility.

Or so the myth goes. In truth, the current political climate has merely brought the dredges of my country to the fore. The ugly nature of hate, supremacist thinking and racism has been there all along. The arrogance. The naïveté.

But I didn’t see it. I didn’t want to see it.

Now we have no choice.

As my mama always says, it doesn’t matter what happens to you. What matters is how you respond.

I have said time and again that I will always choose love. It is the only way out of the wordlessness.

Love is our key to freedom.

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