Summer: The Shared Pulse
On Wednesday, June 15th, a memorial service was held for the victims of the Pulse tragedy at Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Church. John had hit me up sometime the previous day I think, trying to set up a time for us to hang out and reconnect. We hadn’t seen each other since Friday, June 3rd, up at the studio. I had found out about the memorial service via facebook, and was immediately invested in attending and paying honor to my fallen sisters and brothers. I asked John if he wanted to go with me to the service; he immediately agreed. That Wednesday morning, I was all but recovered from the sudden strike of virus that I had been suffering with on Tuesday. The fever had vanished, and my stomach was no longer giving me weird problems.
As I was still without a car, John picked me up that evening and we joyfully reconnected. We talked a bit about the honeymoon and the goings on of Amarillo whilst I was watching he and Angie’s house. We may have discussed the newfound change of living that he and Angie had been pressured into by their landlord and what was to be done exactly to get them moved to canyon sooner. Our talk eventually turned to the events of June 11th and 12th, to the horror that had taken place in Orlando. We were both still in shock. Though I was used to wearing my emotions quite ostensibly, John has always been more reserved and thoughtful. Yet both of us were affected, were heartbroken for these precious souls who we had never met, who we somehow were spiritually connected with now as we mourned their passing. They were children of God, fellow humans sharing this planet, such wondrous souls to share the journey of life, whose journeys had been cut immensely too short.
When we got up to the church, cars were already lining the streets. We parked right off of Cornell and walked up to where everyone was heading inside. The entrance we used may have been a back entrance. It was on the other side of the building from the street, near where the grass looks like straw all year round. A large banner had been made for the victims, and those who came to the memorial were invited to sign their names upon it. I wrote my name and placed a heart next to it. John and I filed inside and found our way to the main sanctuary. We sat up near the front, on the left side of the room.
The place was filled with people from all different walks of life. I knew a few faces. One of my friends was actually a part of the musical tribute that night. We both greeted him and proceeded to catch up some more as more people showed up. The place was eventually packed out. The walls were lined with those who had come to honor.
The service was beautiful. Representatives from various faiths and organizations took turns taking the stage and speaking about the Pulse tragedy, the victims, and their loved ones. In between these words, different musicians would get up on stage and play a song to pay tribute; some were original compositions, some were old familiar friends.
The most beautiful and the most heartbreaking moment came at the end. We each took a candle. Once they were all lit, a projector displayed the faces of those who had passed on the wall one at a time while their names and ages were read. A bell would ring out at the end of every name. In unison, with candles lit and illuminating the entire room, we all watched in stunned silence as the faces of our lost family passed before us. All these wonderful souls, all of these lives… they should be safe and sound with their loved ones. Their passing will never make sense; but in those moments, we memorialized their lives with all love and care. It was an ineffable experience to watch those faces and to hear those bells. Most of these individuals were my age, and Latino like me. God help us all.
With candles still lit, we all stood for one last song: John Lennon’s Imagine. Never before had that song meant so much to me. Never before had I understood the great and immediate need for unity on God’s earth, for peace in this land. I heard John singing next to me. John never sings. But there we were, all restraints and reservations stripped away as we, one body and one voice, sang out a tribute and a call for hope.
I left with hope on my heart. I left with the resolve to do my very utmost to be a child of pure light. Through the transformative power of Christ, I will be that light, I will show that love. Let us change. Let us honor them with Love. Let us work towards healing in every way, for the victims of this tragedy and for the rift of fear between cultures. Let us show unlimited kindness towards the families and friends of the victims, and all who are afraid and nervous because of this. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.