We Will Be OkayBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City paper 11/2017

“We will be okay.”

It’s Sunday; I’m driving around Foxboro Common and I pass the Universalist Church and these four words on their little announcement sign jump out at me. “We will be okay.”

As I’m inspired. I really am. That’s my next column, I say to myself. There is hope. I happen to notice another sign across the street, which I will get to in a moment.

I head into the house, a little spring in my step, the crisp autumn air and gorgeous reds and oranges still clinging to the trees inspiring me more to head upstairs and write this.

But I step inside and see the TV: ANOTHER mass-shooting. This time, in a church in Texas. And I just stand there. Las Vegas was how many weeks ago?   All but forgotten because on Halloween a guy in New York rented a truck and mowed down a crowd. Puerto Rico still without power. Now, in Texas, more than 20 dead. Where’s the hope?

We will be okay. REALLY? Yeah, right, I think to myself.

No, stop that, I think. Don’t go down that dark road. Maybe… Maybe I need to have a little faith? Maybe have faith that the universe will unfold as it should? That even if I don’t believe at this moment it’s all OK, can I make room for the POSSIBILITY?

And I think… I have to… Because the alternative is an ever-growing chasm of despair that eventually will consume me, consume us all.

But how to find the light? There is SO much negativity in the news these days, from shootings to rampant political scandal to {horrible crime of the week} to {really bad event} to the real possibility of nuclear war. The United States government seems in utter chaos and a constitutional crisis just over the horizon. And locally and nationally, it’s all bad news.

Sure feels like the end times, doesn’t it?

We will be okay.

All right sign, you got me thinking, so I’ll start writing…

“We will be okay because _______”

And I came up with this:

We will be okay…

… Because of all the first responders and ordinary citizens who run into the smoke, the fire, the hail of gunfire, the chaos, the ones who ACT to save lives, to get people to safety. We will be okay because there are so many people out there who protect us.

… Because for every barbaric act of terror there will far more people who will help who will help the victims, ensure safety, and work to prevent it from happening again.

… Because so many people in law enforcement and government are doing their jobs well, around the clock, working within the justice system, to set the government ship right again.

… Because the United States has checks and balances and a constitution and we are a government of laws rather than of men.

… Because we have been tested before and we have passed those tests.

… Because this country has faced evil and beaten it every time.

… Because when this country has been brought to its knees it stands back up and fights for freedom, democracy, safety and preservation of our way or life and our lives.

… Because despite our differences most of us want to be safe, and to be happy (I really believe that).

… Because so many people, in large ways and small, keep fighting the good fight doing God’s work, helping the sick, rescuing the injured, protecting us from the demons, for no other reason than it is right.

… Because for every bad story out there are a hundred more of acts of kindness reported, you just need to look for them.

… Because when people see an injustice they rise en masse and fight against it.

… Because there is always someone fighting for the oppressed and defenseless.

… Because hate groups are met by tens of thousands of peaceful protesters who say, “No. Not again.”

… Because of all the people who risk their lives just to get to the truth.

… Because people are standing up to the sexual predators and bullies and exposing them for what they are, removing their power and bringing them to justice.

… Because people, alone or in small and large groups, work to make a difference and make the world a better place by the smallest actions of goodness.

Which brings me to the second sign. The iconic Lions Foxboro sign across the street from Universalist Church: There will be a blood drive at Saint Mary’s on November 18. And I thought, that’s a way I can make help make things okay, right? I haven’t given blood in years, but that could help someone. Maybe even a few people. I can do SOMETHING to help.

…A lazy Sunday afternoon shattered by another terrorist act during another week of governmental scandal.

And two hand-lettered signs: One asking for a pint of blood that will do so much good for many people. The other a church announcement with four unpretentious words, the kind of reassuring thing you say to a frightened child. Four words; no grand prose, no lengthy didactic speech or psychobabble. Just four words that got through to me like nothing else has lately, and made me think: Even on the day of ANOTHER mass shooting that in the end, I can be part of the solution, even in the smallest way, and:


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