A letter when for when our hearts begin to mend.

Dear New Zealand,

I know we’re still gasping and reeling and hugging each other right now. The heart of our nation is love, and I for one, couldn’t be prouder of us all. When we get wounded, we bleed love. . .

And, we stand against the violence.

‘It’s not who we are,’ she said, and I agree.

But can we just put it out there and own the fact that:

We gave violence a foothold.

We did.

Our kids got into their violent gaming and now they can’t get enough of it, and us adults somewhere along the line got an incredible taste for horror, and gang violence and domestic violence have all weaved their way into our nation . . .

And none of us wanted it or created it, but still, we gave violence a foothold. We did.

Like a thief, it’s found a way in—into our homes, our communities, our language—our hearts, even—and before long, it’s just there, in all its various forms, looking less like an impostor and more like who we are.

But it’s not who we are; when violence ran rampant and the beautiful souls were gunned down in the midst of their prayers, we rose as one and we denounced it, firmly, unequivocally. Violence has no place in our land.

But it’s one thing to denounce violence, and a whole other thing to renounce it. One thing to watch carnage take place before our eyes and rightly distance ourselves from it, because it absolutely is not who we are. And yet . . .

What if we went one step further?

What if we renounced it too? What if we, in one act of incredible resolve, united to recognize, renounce and reject violence in all it’s insidious forms?

What if we refuse to give violence a foothold at all - not in our private lives, not in our homes, not in our land.

Then we can be who we truly are: New Zealand, a nation known for our love.