Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. — The Golden Rule.
I knew for sure in 2007 when we were finally able to see the morgue photos of Griffen that something in our world had shifted. With that knowing came another one — that I had shifted too. I’m sure every generation before mine felt the same.
There was no way to look at my little brother’s body with all the Sharpie markings on it and not wonder what on earth we had come to that this was what kids were doing for fun. Talking to high schoolers, my concerns grew stronger. Sharpie markings were something young people regularly did, and to them, it was no big deal. There were times when parents would tell me about their child participating in these games and some with a follow-through of how it was just kids being kids and having fun.
My mind struggled to understand that. It struggled because I had seen the worst case scenario. Unless one saw it for themselves, a Sharpie and this game might seem harmless. Or was it? I think it was and is a loud call for all of us to examine what fun means and how we treat our fellow human beings. What happened to the mindset that we take care of our friends and others? What could possibly be fun about drawing all over someone with a permanent marker?
As time has rolled on, I continue to ask those questions and then some.
What are we teaching our kids? I don’t want to get all political but the truth is politics seems to be bringing out the absolute worst in some of us. I was telling a friend last night that it is almost like the internet has turned some people into fifth graders. ‘Libtard’, ‘Teabagger’, ‘Faggot’, ‘Killary’, ‘Obummer’. Really? How old are we again?
Name calling reminds me of the photo above. It’s my brother’s leg on a morgue table. Dead. He died drunk but in shame — ‘Poor Baby’. Sadly, I think it was a sign of the times and the times are getting worse every day.
We are bingeing on negativity and meanness like Griffen binged on Captain Morgan’s Rum his last night on earth. I don’t think I have ever witnessed so much of it. It isn’t everyone, but the number of people who are feeding the darkness seems to be growing. Just as Griffen couldn’t see his outcome, we don’t see ours either. We don’t see the ripple effect of the stones we are throwing into the pond. They are getting larger and larger and the force of their wake stronger and stronger. The darkness is winning, and we are losing the light
We are getting angrier and angrier. Do you feel it too? Do you read Facebook postings or watch TV and feel sick to your stomach? I do. Do you see that bullying is at an all-time high with no sign of a decrease but instead more escalation? I see it with kids, and I see it with adults too. That should alarm us all. It concerns me that it doesn’t.
It is now easy for me to see where the young people learned their tactics from. Us! We might not be taking a Sharpie marker and drawing eyeglasses, watches or obscenities all over each other, but we are demeaning and hurtful. Instead of progressing into better, we are regressing into worse.
How bloody must it get before we see that shame, humiliation and being right no matter what is not the right way? Will we ever be able to be rational and look out for everyone as if they are our brother, our sister, our son, our daughter or our best friend?
I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is that it gets real when you see the true consequences of reckless and demeaning behavior. There are some things that you cannot unsee. The ‘Poor Baby’ above is dead.
My brother chose his fate when he chose to binge drink himself into oblivion. I get that. He didn’t mean to, but he chose death.
Actions have consequences. Those of us who loved him will live with his bad choice until we draw our last breath.
I know we are better than what our actions are showing. I know that inside all of us is goodness and kindness and love even if we have to dig deep to get there. I want us to look at our neighbor and not just say we believe in following the ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ rule. I want us to live it.
A Sharpie by itself can be used to draw beautiful pictures, write beautiful poetry and love stories. In another way, it can be used to demean, create shame and horrify. Our words and actions are like that Sharpie. Which way are we using ours?
I want to use my Sharpie (my words and my actions) for kindness and goodness and love.
Choose with me and let’s see how far we can propel ourselves past the darkness that is running rampant in our world.
Think of my sweet little brother who will not be here to celebrate another Christmas or birthday or any other day in his human form.
Let’s make love our Sharpie and write it out all over the place.