25.6 miles away from my home…. 14.3 miles from the place i called home for 13 years… is Newtown, CT. I don’t have young children (my youngest stepchild is 18) but I have plenty of friends with children under eight years old, with six of them either living in or close to Newtown.
I feel as I did days after 9/11, where nothing I do feels important or necessary. Why am I cooking for a birthday celebration when there are 26 people who will never blow out candles again and their families will mark that day with tears and memories? Why am I writing a new Yule ritual to celebrate the return of Sun and Life to the world when 20 children had their life ended by madness?
My heart aches and my brain screams… but there’s nothing out there that will listen or help.
I’ve read many posts about reactions to the tragedy in Newtown. There are two that stand out: Kimberly Brock’s I WONDER AS I WANDER and a comment by Kenneth on Jason Pitzl-Waters’ Prayers in the Face of Unspeakable Tragedy post.
Ms. Brock is an author and mother whose post doesn’t mention a word about gun control, mental health or even the town’s name. It’s about faith, courage and standing together. I know I’m simplifying her sentiments, but I believe each reader will come away with something different. I read it and felt that as alone and uncertain as I feel, there are others willing to share. It helps to hold your neighbor’s in our global community, even virtually.
The comment by a gentleman named Kenneth in the latter post is a snap back to reality. I’m a firm believer in “you sleep in the bed you make”. You can complain and lament all you want, but, when push comes to shove, you’re the only one who can make a difference in your own situation. He says:
“…we tell ourselves that mass shootings are just random acts of faceless evil or some nebulous force of nature. It’s a natural cause of death for children, the way diphtheria was 200 years ago. We consider it normal for kindergartners to be drilled in how to respond in a firefight. Praying to the gods for relief in this instance [is] an insult to them. It is like praying for relief from hunger after refusing to plant crops. The gods are happy to help when we do our best and need a little nudge to get over the top. They’re not there to bail us out of our own collective willful stupidity.”
One of the reasons why I loved Ms. Brock’s post so much is because it wasn’t political in any sense, and I’m struggling to keep with that here. Kenneth’s comment isn’t really political, but most is certainly a blow to our culture. I believe he’s right. Whoever your Divinity is, I’m willing to bet He/She/They hear our prayers and say “A miracle isn’t going to fix this problem. The miracle will be your own cultural changes. Get working on that and we’ll help you with the strength to transform.”
Combining the ideas from both writers, we need to come together as a community, support each other but do more than expressing our wishes and intentions. We have to do something. The first thing to do is define what “something” is. We also need to remember in defining “something”, we’re not just expressing our desired result. Let’s all step it up a bit. We need to put aside our political and religious convictions and look at this logically. We need to be mindful of everyone’s rights and be willing to compromise.
Compromise is difficult but such a small price to pay to avoid funerals, isn’t it?
I know this blog isn’t updated often or with anything very profound. I know I do not have a strong readership. However, if any one chooses to leave a comment, I will ask you to be respectful toward each other. You needn’t agree, but I will not tolerate attacks.
Blessed be, one and all.