I cannot relate to the trauma of having my daughters kidnapped while at school simply because they are girls and not boys.
I do not have to worry about having only moments to run for shelter before a bomb is dropped on my family.
These are all evils I am desperately aware of, but they are not happening here, to me, now. I cannot act like they are. I can donate money and share links; I can contact elected officials and speak until I'm blue in the face about how these atrocities must stop, but can I stop them? Probably not. Can I relate to them on anything more than a superficial level? If I'm being completely honest, no.
Sadly, these horrific events are happening on the other side of the world. I lose sleep imagining them, aching to do something, but nothing of real use comes from my comfortable anguish.
Then an actor dies. A funny man who beneath it all was so sad he took his own life. And I can relate to that. I can relate to being in a part of the world that has everything yet still lacks so much. I've never truly been without shelter or safety, but I have felt great sadness and the truest despair possible in the only environment I've ever known. I’ve lost more than I can ever hope to gain back. I’ve grieved a soul mate taken from me far too soon. I've felt that defeated and lost. I've had those thoughts. I've looked at all I was blessed with and hated myself even more for feeling so hopeless when I had so much. I can relate to some Hollywood actor more than I can relate to a mother who fears for the life of her child on a minute by minute basis. That might not be socially acceptable, but it's the truth.
We are all aware of the pain, suffering, and reprehensible evils in the world, but they often feel too far off to fix.
Then there are those that hit close to home, and we feel like we might actually have a shot at making an impact. So we share our own stories, and we let others know they're not alone in this universal struggle, because yes, you can mourn a celebrity while still fighting oppression in the Middle East and aching for the families suffering there. It's not an either/or... it's an all. We all hurt, but thankfully, we also all belong to something bigger; something human. And that humanity is the only thing capable of overpowering such suffering, no matter what side of the globe we're on.
However, that same humanity is also incapable of devaluing even one human life, whether it's lost in California, Israel, Nigeria, or Iraq- because that humanity, the humanity which will save us all, counts every single life as precious.