This week has been one filled with tragedy. The deadliest mass shooting in American history occurred as a result of the hatred of one individual. The attack was meant not only as an affront to America as a whole, but also to the progress that the LGBTQ+ community has made here. When the attack first happened, I was understandably sad and more or less speechless as a result. Now that I’ve had more time to process I am using a coping strategy that I learned from my experience with chronic illness – looking for the positives in a difficult situation.

When a tragic event happens there are two ways that I’ve discovered to do this. First, immediately in the aftermath of a tragedy, look for the helpers.

In this case the helpers included first responders, and all of the people of Orlando who showed up when they were most needed to give blood. They waited in lines over 5 hours long to help in the best way that they knew how. Food trucks stepped up to offer free food and beverages to donors while they waited.

Second, after people have had a moment to collect themselves, I look for people and organizations who are helping by ‘turning on the light’ (wisdom from the great JK Rowling).

To me these people are the ones who are either responding with grace like the employees of JetBlue Airleines who went above and beyond to care for the grandmother of a victim on their flight. Other people who are ‘turning on the light’ include legislators who are working for change In the areas of gun control and making sure that gay people are not discrimated against when wanting to donate blood. (Regardless of your political position, what’s important is that these people are taking action beyond status changes, prayers, well wishes, and moments of silence).

I hope this post helps you to cope. If you haven’t already, look for the helpers, look for the people turning on the light. Support them in any way you can. If you are able, join them. Here’s to a lovely week ahead of us that will hopefully prove what I know to be true: Love wins. Always, but especially when put up against hatred.