Friday, December 14, 2012

Life's Like That

It shouldn't be ... but it is. Today's heartbreaking news out of Connecticut of an entire class of kindergartners being shot along with teachers and school principal has me, again, scraping the recesses of my mind for some sort of sense.

I can't imagine the call to the parents telling them the school was on lockdown, the adrenaline charged race to the school to pick up your child...and to have to leave empty handed...knowing your little one is no longer there in spirit but that his or her broken little body lies where it fell. And will lie there. Until there are enough answers to release the empty vessel that was once the chatter in the backseat, the footsteps on the stairs each night asking for another glass of water or another tuck in and the warm vibrancy that echoed around the dinner table with stories and fantasies, complaints and questions.

And I force myself to think that at one time, a man, not much more than a boy himself, was likely all those things in his home as well.

I got goosebumps early in the day hearing that an entire kindergarten class was unaccounted for as parents raced to a nearby firehouse to be reunited with their children.

I cried when I heard stories of teachers ushering children out of the building, hands on the shoulder of the person in front of them, eyes closed to protect innocent minds from having to process more details of horror.

I can hardly breathe hearing political rhetoric and posturing on a day where no one can dispute, the right to bear arms cost America a good chunk of its future today.  At one point, I remembered my kindergarten class photo and thought of the people we are today. We are geologists and hockey coaches, bakers and mothers, philanthropists and landscape architects. We're mothers, fathers, sisters and son-in-laws. What would the world have missed if we had been erased in one violent action? It's unimaginable because we can't begin to foresee the ripple effect such a gaping hole will leave, not only in one small town but across the world.

My writing has been a roller coaster lately, big dreams and heart aches. The inspiration of amazing women in my life and the despair over children running in the Congo from rebels. I can't help thinking of the kids in the Congo today. I imagined that at worst, it was maybe 45 of the worst minutes of these kids' lives in Conneticut. It is gut wrenching and it makes us all want to hold our kids closer. And does that compare to children in areas like Syria or Goma that have to be constantly vigilant because of the ever present threat of the same type of violence. Unwarranted. Unimaginable. What is it in our minds that allows us to grieve so openly for children shot in their schoolroom, as well we should, but not for those that are fleeing barefoot and hungry into dark night ahead of hordes of rebel murderers. Or the audacity to think they are different circumstances.

I don't understand myself. I don't. I know that this week, I have been dreaming of big and beautiful things only to be caught once again by a wave of grief and disbelief at the violence of our world. How can such beauty and disturbance coexist. I don't know. I just know they do. And we are at the mercy of the wave of emotions that accompany each. When it's beautiful, it's our job to pass it on. When it's not, it's our obligation to bring it back around.

So, tonight. All I can think of is fighting despair with gratitude. For my own family and the monotony of a regular Friday at school for the boys. For dinner tonight and hockey this weekend. For the beautiful stories of teachers speaking words of love and reading books behind locked doors to frightened children. I'm thankful for the beauty of each reunited family even in the midst of grieving for those who won't have that chance tonight.

I'm praying. I don't feel like it can really make a difference tonight. But feeling or not, I'm choosing to believe it will.


Monique Liddle said...

Your post was touching, and I could sense your struggle of being so distraught about Sandy Hook and at the same time looking at the same or worse violence children face everyday in so many countries. What happened in CT was awful and people's lives are changed forever by it. However, I wonder if multitudes of communities and large sections of our country believe violence should not touch our lives. Many who live in this country experience a protection that others in the world do not experience. Most countries have experienced &/or continue to experience war in the last 120 years. The U.S. has not experienced war on it's soil, (other than terroist attacks) & I believe this has affected the American identity: Do we think we are exempt from violence? When violence affects our communities, why do we look to some specific reason for it's cause instead of looking at causes from a world-wide/systemic perspective?

I did not mean to go on as I did about America's perception of violence in it's communities. However, your blog post stirred a continuing question in me in that I wonder if the U.S. believes it is apart from the rest of the world - to a certain extent. At the same time, like you, I don't want to diminish the horror of CT. But I also don't want to forget the horror of millions of children face every day.

Thank you for your post!

Jason, Shelly, Aidan and Easton said...

Hi Monique,
Thank you for your comments. I'm glad that it was clear to you the struggle that I was trying to communicate. I wonder if what you bring up is the luxury that will be our undoing here in North America...the expectation that we are exempt from violence.
You've got me thinking. That's always dangerous! : )
Thank you again, Shelly