We rise and fall, and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer and love is love is love...

It's been a painful and emotional couple of days in the United States. We are once again, reeling and in pain as another terroristic attack has taken place on American soil. This time, 49 people are dead and dozens more are injured in what has become the worst mass shooting in U.S history. 

People are angry. People are scared and people are lost. 

In the 48 hours since the attack, my Facebook feed has blown up with tributes, calls to action, disgust and pain. 

My friends and loved ones are trying to grapple with this in the only ways they know how. 

I've seen friends working together to coordinate donations, ordering supplies for the blood banks, passing out information on how to help and expressing their sorrow and this is what we need. Action. 

However, I'm also seeing the dark side of terror. Fear, judgement, anger and blame. 

This is normal. People process things differently. I am a person of action. To me, in times of pain and the unknown, the best action you can take is to reach out and comfort and love and help your fellow citizen. 

Unfortunately, instead of love, I'm seeing hate. 

I wasn't going to post about this. It's a hot button issue here. I have no answers. I have no fix for this. I cannot heal the pain I see that is so raw and real among my friends. 

But I have to express my pain. 

For the most part, I'm used to brushing things off. Years of moderating the dreaded comment section, seeing the terrible, wretched thoughts people share about the smallest thing has helped me develop the ability to look pass all of the hateful rhetoric on social. 

But today, a post hit me deep in my heart. It was the usual type of post you see here in the US after a mass shooting. I'm sure it's been posted hundreds of times before because it shifts blame to someone else. 

It lists other terroristic attacks against the US and says how "The problem is not guns, It's a Godless Country" 

I am and have been an atheist for many years. I do not discourage others their religious beliefs. Because I know there is more than just the 2nd amendment to the Constitution. I know that as an American, the First amendment gives them that right. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have great respect for religion. I think it can truly help some people. I think it gives some people a feeling of belonging, a sense of community and a belief system that helps them through life. It is not what I have chosen for myself. All I ask, is they have the same respect for my choice to not believe. I draw the line when they depend on religion for hate. 

My Atheism works well for me, it will not work for others and it is not something I encourage for others. It is not something I feel is the one true way. 

However, this meme this person shared in their fear of the recent events made me realize. I am the Godless Country they are blaming this on. I am an unapologetic atheist. I choose not to believe in their God. Therefore, do they feel I am part of what contributed to this? 

I am a loving person. I am a strong person. I am a wife, a friend, a sister, a mother, a Feminist, an LGBT+ Ally and I am an American. Until today, I did not realize, some of my friends saw me as what is wrong with this country. 

I love my fellow citizens regardless of their sexual orientation, their religion, gender and political beliefs. I find wonder and amazement in the world around me and I want the world to be a better place than it is. But according to this, I am the problem.

But this is fear. This is wanting to push the blame elsewhere, to put up walls and to push people out. Because we're hurt. Because we're scared. Because we don't know how to handle such destruction and pain.

This doesn't help though. Saying it's because there is no prayer in school, or because people are not your chosen religion, is not going to help. When we start dividing people between us vs them, the religious vs the non-religious, The LDS vs the Baptists, the Catholics vs the Protestants, this accomplishes nothing but alienating everyone. This creates pain, weakens our bonds and creates strife. 

But I'm not what is wrong. I'm a law-abiding contributing member of society. I appreciate diversity, I appreciate art and beauty and science. I appreciate everyone that has touched my life.  I celebrate life and mourn death. I give more than I take, I hope I set good examples for those I meet. 

How can you allow this to divide us? How can you see something where your fellow citizens are in pain and scared and not want to unite against the bullies that are trying desperately to rip us apart?

Differences in skin color, beliefs, sexual identity and who someone loves should not divide us. In the face of fear, we should unite and celebrate the true American spirit, not of clinging to our fear. But celebrating our strength, our diversity and our ability to endure. 

So instead of focusing on hurtful things people are posting, I choose life. I choose the true American spirit, and the spirit of those around the world sending actual love to a country in tears. 

I believe people are fundamentally good. That good will always triumph over bad as long as we stay united. 

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." "

 These helpers are the types of people we should really be turning to in these times: 

Everyone who has donated to the Equality Florida GoFundMe supporting Victims of the Pulse Shooting: https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund As of 2am Tuesday morning, they have raised nearly $3 Million. 

The Thousands that lined up to donate blood: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/12/orlando-blood-bank-crisis-waives-gay-donation-restrictions/85789648/

JetBlue offering Free Flights to families of the Orlando victims: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2016/06/13/jetblue-offers-free-flighs-orlando-victims-families/85836586/

Chick-Fil-a for donating food and tea to blood donors on a Sunday, when the stores are typically closed. This has touched me deeply. Because to me, this is a True Christian act and I respect them greatly for it: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/13/chick-fil-responds-orlando-massacre-free-food-bloo/

All of the tributes from news agencies, The Tony Awards, Talk shows: 

John Oliver: http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/john-oliver-on-orlando-shooting-terrorist-is-vastly-outnumbered-20160613

Anderson Cooper: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/13/cnn-s-anderson-cooper-fights-back-tears-reading-orlando-victim-names.html

Lin Manuel-Miranda: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/entertainment/lin-manuel-miranda-sonnet-hamilton-orlando/index.html

And the countries around the world paying tribute to our fallen Americans:


Dumbledore once said "....we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open." 

And remember.    Love Wins. 

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