From Tragedy to Unity

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

Toward the end of my college years, I became a fan of Kobe Bryant. While Kobe has had his ups and downs, like most of us, I have always appreciated his passion for winning and living. I admired his drive to be the best, not just because of his natural gifts but also through his incredible dedication to improving. As an outside observer, it always appeared that Kobe believed he was created for more.

As I heard the news of the helicopter accident that took his life, the life of his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others, a sense of sadness and shock came over me. My reaction seemed a bit surprising to me given the fact that I do not and have never known Kobe, or any of the other victims, personally. This feeling of sadness has popped into my consciousness at various moments over the course of the past week.

The reality is that this has been true for an incredible number of people in the United States and around the world. This loss of life has created a collective sense of sadness for the lives that were cut short, for what could have been. In a country and world seemingly more divided than ever, this tragedy has brought many people together. In a real way, it has reminded us that what brings us together and makes us more intrinsically similar than different is greater than what divides us. Love, hope, life, family, and the like far outweigh our differences.

As the world continues to process this tragedy, I hope we can hold onto that lesson and in doing so honor those who lost their lives. Our differences can be an asset when we remember that it is ultimately what unifies us that matters. Instead of dividing us, we can learn from each other and be better for it. When we unify around what makes us the same we can better understand and appreciate the parts of us that are different.

If we can come together to grieve, we should be able to come together to live. Life is short and too valuable to live divided. We have the opportunity to create a different future, but it will require us to not forget the moments that have brought us together and provided us a glimpse of what that future might look like.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy to remind us of this, but let’s not waste this opportunity created by the unity we have found in the tragic passing of someone who believed we were created for more.

– James Belt

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