I have to stop the usual posting here today. I have to stop, because a story is more important. It’s not my story, it’s only my perspective of a story that even now I’m unable to wrap my head around. I told this story in almost this exact same way on my blog and on Instagram, but I need to tell it here.
I went on vacation this month. You can see several posts about that here. It took us 7 hours to drive from Atlanta to Orlando to end our vacation at Universal Studios. The whole time, my mind kept fluttering back to all of the tragedy that town has seen this month.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore
I fancy myself someone who believes in spreading love and positivity – to be a light for others. I may not always be the best light or the brightest light, but a light I try to be. Only a couple of days before we headed for Orlando for our second honeymoon to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, two sets of violent deaths occurred in the same city.
But what I saw rise from it all was something greater than the hate: flags at half mast, colors and rainbows decorating buildings and sidewalks, pride parades stubbornly and bravely marching on, and people appreciating what and who they have.
When I think about the people in my life whom I love, I think about our laughs, our hugs, our smiles, our “I love you”s. I’m thinking about the love they give me, and the love I try to give them in return. And despite how hard it can be sometimes to see it, we all deserve that happiness.
As Orlando drew nearer on the drive to our vacation, we found a rainbow. A rainbow is defined as, “An arc of spectral colors, usually identified as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, that appears in the sky opposite the sun as a result of the refractive dispersion of sunlight in drops of rain or mist.” A show of light, peace, resolve, promise.
Monday evening, after the events in Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando held a night vigil at Hogwarts castle. Everyone lifted their wands and lights in respect of those lost. Just as everyone at Hogwarts had done when Dumbledore’s life was lost. Knowing this warmed every part of me, but also broke my heart tremendously. I was headed to a place that replicated a home for many, a place of forgiveness, learning, growth and experience. People there recognized this and used it for good that night.
I got a simple spell today: “Lumos.” The spell of light. Because it reminds me of Dumbledore’s words, of flags at half mast, of spectral light beaming across a tearing sky, of the hugs I’ve shared, of billboards that say “#OrlandoStrong” or “#OrlandoUnited” in remembrance of neighbors, of God’s love, of your love, of my love.
Learn from what these events have taught us, don’t forget them but do not dwell. Continue to fight for a future. Continue to strive for more. I didn’t get “lumos” specifically for Orlando. I got it in spite of those events, and in spite of hate entirely.
We may not be able to stop all tragedy, but we can certainly fight against it with love. We can be a light for a world. We can brighten shadows. We can BE love. Please, please, please hold onto your light.