Last night watching the Tony Awards with my two girls, Lin-Manuel Miranda began his acceptance sonnet and I knew it was time to tell them what had happened earlier that day in Orlando. As a parent, I struggle between wanting to protect them from the news as much as possible, and realizing often times, they’ll hear about it at school or from friends. We’d had a lovely family Sunday together, sitting outside on a breezy deck most of the afternoon; telling my kids about a hate-filled shooting was the last thing I wanted to do. And as I struggled to find some words, instead I burst into tears. As it often happens I could barely speak, so the mister simultaneously comforted me and together we did our best to say something sensible about a thing so senseless.
Every single time a shooting happens, I see the march of incredulous people on Facebook, wondering when we’re going to do something to stop them; everyone has her own ideas about just how we’ll accomplish that…who we can blame, or what. Aren’t we better than this, they ask? The answer seems all too obvious. There’s no quick or easy — there may be no real — solution. I know that’s not a great thing to say, but until someone figures out how we can recall all the weapons that are already in public hands, how to stop the transfers that happen without anyone’s knowledge or permission, how to put an end to what extremists believe, how to get control of our mental health system, how to stop hating each other for our differences…I could go on, but as you can see, it becomes overwhelming. For as long as we’ve existed, we’ve been killing each other; now we’re just more efficient and grand in scale.
I don’t have the answer, and I don’t know who has the answers, but what I know is that we can all benefit from messages of love. Like everyone else with a beating heart, today I went searching for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s beautiful sonnet and like everyone else, I wanted nothing more to listen again. I needed to hear it, to read it over and over, and to pass it around. Like my daughters, who are both taking their final tests at school this week and next, I sought repetition of the message to make it stick in my brain. Then, I spent a little time gif-ing out this beautiful sonnet, so we can share whatever lines resonate (all of them) if we need or choose to. We need…to choose love.
No, thank you so much, Lin-Manuel Miranda. You gave us just the message of love we all need. You might also want to check out Miranda and Friends’ singing Seasons of Love (from Rent).