In June 2016, a lone gunman went into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 49 people in a horrific mass shooting. I am sure you all remember the awfulness of this attack and the outpouring of grief and fear that it evoked. At that time, I had been running 1000 Hearts on Facebook for four months and one of my early followers, Joanna, contacted me to say that her daughter was a news anchor in the US and would be travelling to Orlando to visit a memorial to victims of the shooting. Would I be able to make 49 hearts to honour those killed in the attack?
I was so relieved to be able to offer something in the face of such violence and despair, I immediately set to work embroidering a little rainbow on each of the hearts. As I stitched, I put love and healing into each one, hoping a little of it might reach the grieving community on the other side of the globe. I posted them off to Joanna’s daughter Lisa with a sense of such sadness and hopelessness about the recurring acts of violence in our world, yet with a quiet faith that each act of love would help. I often send hearts off without knowing where they will end up or how they will be received and this was such a case. I did hear from Lisa and Joanna, who let me know that the hearts had been placed in a jar as a permanent part of the memorial, where victims are honoured and remembered. I picture those little hearts sitting there, exuding love and dreaming of a better world where they are not needed in this way.