Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Orlando Proud

As anxious and ambiguous as I've been about moving from my home state of over fifty six years and relocating to Orlando, Florida... have never felt prouder of my new city as I did today.

When we first moved here last year,  Massey and I drove around downtown Orlando for a day to check out our new city and drove past the Pulse nightclub. It was the sight of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Forty nine innocent people died in that club, simply just there to have a fun time. Dozens of others were injured. The place was an iconic impromptu memorial and gave me chills as we drove by.

The city had all kind of things going on this past week to mark the one year anniversary. There were numerous 4.9k runs, blood drives, art exhibits and a huge memorial service planned at Lake Eola, a pretty big lake located smack dab in the heart of downtown Orlando.

I didn't have to work until six thirty so watched the local news pretty much all day, following the events and interviews.

There was one remarkable interview with a city commissioner, who also happened to be openly gay and has served in public office for decades. She was talking about last year, when a day or two after the shootings a vigil was held at Lake Eola for the victims. She said they expected about a hundred people to attend but well over a thousand showed up, completely surrounding the entire lake.

Then she said something I don't think I ever heard about that vigil. She said just as the vigil started that rainy afternoon in 2016...the clouds suddenly broke.

And just like that...

A complete rainbow appeared over their heads.

Wait...it gets even better.

 Just as the rainbow stretched across the sky above and everyone looked up to see...  a flock of exactly  forty nine birds together flew over Lake Eola.

This was the actual picture taken. I found it on the internet. (you can google anything these days)

If that isn't The Hand of God,Telling us to Love... what is?

Tonight they held the first anniversary vigil to celebrate and remember the victims.

Looked like a sell out crowd to me, and #OrlandoStrong!

It even seemed telling to me that on this exact same day, the first thing to show up on my FB memory timeline this morning was this Paulo Coelho quote from The Alchemist...shared to me from Massey a few years back.

The love felt in, around and throughout this city, my new city  over the past year and especially in the past week or so has been an amazing think to witness.

You don't choose your personal calling, it chooses you.

Dr. Seuss put it perfectly.

Today was a day when the hair stood up on the back of my neck and told me time and time again as I watched the events unfold, I live in a pretty great city and hope to make it an even better one.

Til next time...COTTON

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