We have thousands of homicides each year in our country–white on white, black on black, and vice versus. There are thousands of incidental deaths, thousands lost to disease, tragic accidents, drugs, and more. Around the world, there are thousands more lost to wars, human trafficking, and other injustices.
We as a people are not perfect. I'm definitely not perfect, and I realize it.
Over the last two years, I have tried my hand as an author, fashioning works of fiction and creating stories. This has forced me to delve into the minds of my characters and what makes them tick. All of my characters make good and bad decisions, with varying consequences, and for varying reasons.
This has helped me to look into human nature and try to evaluate it more than I ever have before. Why do we act the way we do? How do we become the person we are now, and what are the catalysts for change? What's the cause and effects of various situations? How do mistakes lead to other mistakes? How do wrongs lead to revenge? How does hate lead to tragedy? How does love heal and sustain us?
There are so many 'what if's' and 'why's'? We are all the heroes of our own story and often we like to play Monday Morning Quarterback, wearing our hero helmet, as if we know all there is to know about a situation and would have made much better decisions than those we ridicule, if only put in their place. We lay blanket judgments and rant about the imperfections of others.
In our perfect hero mind, everyone else is a fool and we know what's right. But I have not walked in the shoes of a police officer. I have not walked in the shoes of a black man. I have not walked in the shoes of a war veteran, a person suffering from mental illness, homelessness, abuse, or violence.
The more I write and develop my own worlds, characters, and their stories, the more it makes me take a step back and look at the whole picture. It makes me slow to judge others in real life. It makes me try to understand those with different opinions than myself–because I do have opinions of my own and many of them are strong. And though I may never change my opinions on certain issues, I try to have a little more empathy and understanding for those that differ from my own. It makes me contemplate ideas to bridge gaps and fix problems, as opposed to widening them and fueling anger.