On Friday, I skirted the edges of an internet scuffle. I'm going to tell the story. I'm not sure if I have a point, or if I'm the jerk of the story.
You can let me know.
I haven't had TV in years, I get my news off the internet. When the events in France were unfolding on Friday, my computer gave me the details. After a bit, I turned to my phone and brought up Instagram to follow the feed there.
While viewing the updates from France, I was stunned to see a fashion post go by. You know the type: beautiful, young, perfectly outfitted, impossibly lit and very common on this platform during normal times. If you're not familiar with Instagram, the 'Insta' part of the name is for a reason, the picture posts immediately. The blogger had just posted this picture of herself.
The SWAT teams in Paris were on site and just starting to enter the concert area.
I scanned the comments and saw that someone had suggested it was an inappropriate time to be posting fashion pics. I felt the same, and in a rare moment, I commented back "Thank you for the moment of sanity".
The blogger responded:
Good Lord you two, I posted about France. I have professional obligations to tend to. Thanks for your two cents.
She had, in fact, posted the popular peace sign rendition with the Eiffel Tower that evening.
I found her comment very troubling. Not just in the lack of sensitivity, but the overarching belief that nothing trumps personal agenda. Not even a worldwide tragedy.
I'm firm in the belief that we all get to decide who we are in the world. How we interact with other, who we are as family members, friends and co-workers. How we value each other and how we reach out when others are in need.
I can tell you that I don't want to live in her society. That's not how I want to be held or treated, nor do I want my family and friends to be so casually tossed aside. That feels like a cold, lonely place to be.
I want to live in a society where everyone is able to say:
"Now's not the time and that's not who I want to be. The world is suffering through a tremendous tragedy. They don't want to hear this message and they aren't going to listen to it right now. My energy is better placed elsewhere."
The most important part of that statement is:
"That's not who I want to be."
I want to live in a society that values every member, not just the ones we personally know. (Would her attitude have been different had a family member or friend been involved? I imagine so.) I want a society that recognizes that the human spirit is the most precious gift we have, and that truly honoring each other is the only way we can all rise up. That pain doesn't hurt less when it happens to someone else. It's just not you feeling it.
Who you are, who I am, who each of us is, and what we are willing to do, what our choices are, define us. And each of us make up the society we live in. We are the arms the will catch each other should any of us fall.
And we will fall. It's a part of life. We will have pain, we will have loss, we will have suffering. What kind of arms do you want waiting to catch you?
Look down, those arms are yours. Who do you want to be in the world?
Hugs to you and prayers for France,
Kimberly Montgomery is the creator of the Choices Notebook and blogger at FiftyJewels.com, where she encourages people to use their powers for good. Hop on over there to grab some free tools to increase Gratitude and Happiness in your life.