Knowing the Chauvin verdict might come in, I checked the news off and on so I heard the verdict was coming down in plenty of time to tune in. As the judge pronounced each guilty verdict my arms shot in the air and I whooped. And then I zeroed in on watching Derek Chauvin’s reaction, noting he was doing his best not to show one.
As I watched, arms still in the air, I suddenly realized my heart was feeling pulled, sad, broken. My ability to tap into others’ feelings has always existed but been pretty random and rare though it’s been growing more common recently. After a minute I understood I was literally feeling his heart break at the future he faces as if my own were breaking.
While still feeling jubilant at the outcome, a feeling of a larger picture swept over. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel he deserved a guilty verdict. But I also felt a profound sadness for how hatred and anger, left unexamined and festering, destroyed so many lives. And then for how the pandemic of hatefulness in our country (and in right wing movements worldwide) is destroying lives.
Feeling his heartbreak at the loss of life as he knew it, I understood how thoroughly hatefulness ultimately destroys the hater too, one way or another. Heartache for everyone who loved George Floyd and then for the one who caused it.
Which led to examining the enormous anger that’s been growing over the last 5 years in me. Anger that leads to lack of empathy for the percent of GQP who don’t want vaccines — I shrug and think, “self-inflicted voter suppression” without an ounce of care for those who will die or live with dire health issues. Anger that leads me to wish Repugs who’ve been spouting racist crap and cops who show no care for human life, etc. could all be lined up and shot.
I know better and I fight it and bring myself back to reminders of the fear that fuels such hatefulness and search for compassion in my heart. Again and again returning to lovingkindness and then being snared by the anger again. The part of me that can tap into a connection with someone else’s feeling can also be ensnared by collective anger. And there’s no distinguishing between righteous leftist anger vs right wing anger. In the web of all life, it’s just anger. And it impacts all of us.
I’m also frightened by the many Democrats I encounter in social media who are snotty, hateful, ready to pounce on any nuance of disagreement with exactly their point of view. I’ve made a few Twitter comments that have led to literally hundreds of people — all allegedly Democrats — spewing at me. Fortunately I don’t particularly care personally about what a lot of strangers with anger issues think about me, but I do care that these are the people who like to claim they care about humanity.
So much anger spewing everywhere. So many people on both sides who think there’s something righteous or right about unloading on people who disagree. So many people who may destroy themselves or people near them with their unresolved anger and hate issues. So many who don’t understand that vitriol and compassion really cannot coexist.
When are we going be ready to make the transformations necessary to stop having so many broken hearts?