We Will Begin To Fill The Void

I’m feeling a void having learned of the massacre earlier this morning in Orlando. A void in the collective soul of humanity, a hole that carries the sting of an open wound, yet it’s numb because the loss of fifty innocent lives is incomprehensible. The heart wants to flinch, to feel, but the mind is held in a trance by the tragic reality, the magnitude of the horrific ripples playing out from this act.

Pulse Nightclub crime scenePhoto credit: Orlando Police Department

Upon waking today I booted up my phone as my wife poured coffee. The start-up sequence showed something very different than the usual notification icons from my social media accounts. No latest tweets, no likes or Instagrams, but two bulletins calling attention to a headline: 50 dead, 50 plus wounded in an Orlando mass shooting. Honey, I said, I think we better turn on the news.

As I watched the news of what was known at the time, my initial shock gave way to solemnity. Then the numbing subsided; my heart began an emotional somersault as I thought of the victims, their families, the wounded, and the first responders. I thought of San Bernardino and Paris. I wondered what kind of world my kids would know, what kind of world my nephew’s newborn son would grow up in. ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos was interviewing Christine Leinonen, a mother who believed her son was at the Pulse Nightclub when the shooting occurred, but was unable to get in touch with him. His whereabouts were unaccounted for. Standing at the hospital where victims were being treated, Christine’s voice cracked as she described how she learned of the massacre―her agony and heartbreak of not knowing if her son was a victim, mirrored in the tears streaming down my wife’s face.

We went on about the business of getting breakfast on the table, yet all the while there was an unsettled stillness about the task, feeling caught in the middle by the pull of polar opposites: on one end a family gathering for a meal safely in the comforts home, the other end is loss, families ripped apart in full grief by a lone gunman. While details were still emerging of the atrocity, one thing stood clear in my mind: the shooting was hatred borne from pure evil.

President Obama addresses the nation about the Orlando, Florida massacre.

Helplessness is a feeling which can arise following heinous acts of violence. Your heart goes out to the victims, survivors and their families. You want to do something, but you’re unsure of what you can do to help.

Every single human being is born with a light inside, in the soul; you inherently know what this light is. Those who do acts of terror have this light too, but they’ve turned away from it losing their way to darkness.

You can use your light. You can use it right now to lift up others, your neighbor, a stranger in your town, a neglected child. When you pass someone on the street and your eyes meet, offer a smile and a nod. Be present with your family and coworkers, attend to a friend with empathy who’s suffering a loss or distressed by a challenge. Be aware of your surroundings―opportunities to help mankind are all around. Give goodness with a pure heart; send it out to those around you. The positive light creates a synergy that keeps good moving forward in the world. And when more of us are simply in a place of love, extending that love to others, we will begin to fill the void and good will reign over evil.

#OrlandoUnited by Cakewalker


  1. So eloquent Brooks! Been in a state of shock, anger, sadness all day. I’m still not able to process it. I will look to the light as you suggest and continue to live my life focused on good.

  2. Very aptly said, Brooks!

  3. So well said, Brooks. As you know, I lived in Orlando for several years, and I still have many friends and family down there. Many of my Orlando friends work in restaurants. One of my dear restaurant friends posted on Facebook yesterday that he was making his services and skills as a chef available to anyone who needed them for any sort of vigil or gathering related to the shooting. I am so glad to know many very good people.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you, my friend! Good people and good deeds will prevail, but it’s up to us to extend this goodness, this love, to each other.

  4. A very sad day indeed, and for so long that seems to be the pattern that keeps repeating itself. A profound post, Brooks.

    • Brooks Walker says

      I’m grateful for your time to read the post and to comment, Azlin. Thank you for the support!

  5. This violent act is heartbreaking, why can’t people just live and let live? Such loss. Your words were poignant.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts on this, Brooks. It’s so hard to know what to think.

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