I didn't think it was appropriate to post about anything else today, as the news of yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut is still weighing heavy on all of our minds. The media coverage hasn't let up, all of us with kids have constant built-in reminders, and the dreary Chicago weather isn't helping to lift anyone's spirits. Besides — it's too early to think about lifting spirits. I'm still thinking about the teachers, the parents, those who knew the shooter.
There are no two ways about it: No one can make sense of this scope of tragedy, the innocent lives lost, the warning signs — if any — that no one bothered to pick up on or point out. There is no "Because" to the "Why," and there is no comfort in Everything Happens For A Reason.
This has no reason, no point, no silver lining.
It's hard for me as a believer to always fall back on the whole "God has a plan" thing. We can't see the butterfly effect of one life gone, let alone more than 20, especially when children are involved. And as much as we may plead with and pray to Him or send as much love and light possible to the families of the victims and those who survived, I just keep coming back to the bottom line that there is no understanding of these events. I can't understand it. I won't.
If God wants us to love on our children a little more, isn't there an easier way to get that message across? If He wants stricter gun laws, can't we read between the lines any other day of the week? If collectively we need to pay more attention to those with mental health issues and just generally be more kind to one another, why can't we be told with other words?
When you put it that way, actually, the Mom voice goes off in my head saying "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times..."
Because we all know we've been through this before. I don't really want to, but I'll say it: Columbine, Virginia Tech, that mall in Oregon last week, the movie theater in Colorado...
We've been told once. Twice. Too many times but thank God not 1,000. We already know the lessons. These hard lessons that we should be working on every day to improve already, without these things having to happen. But it is in our nature to fall short of the goal. We snap at each other, we lie, we steal, we cheat, we dishonor our parents, we treat the help poorly, we ignore what we don't want to deal with, we cannot stick to a plan even when our life depends on it.
So there isn't much to say here except that it starts today, with you, and me, and everyone you come into contact with. There are a million things you can do to make this world a better place, even if you know nothing about gun control, mental health or disaster response. And it may sound trite to say that showing love and kindness can make a difference — believe me, I get that right now — but can it really do any harm? How much effort does it really take to be nice to the smelly guy, smile at that tall lady who dwarfs you, give your anal boss the benefit of the doubt?
There may be no making sense of it all, but there are things we can do on the other side of a tragedy like this, and they are Good Things. Blessed Things. Acts of Kindness. Do NOT let these people die in vain. Show kindness and love every chance you get. Don't let someone else lose faith in humanity and/or God because they too can't make sense of this act; let them see the helpers and all the love and light embracing the families of the victims and even the family of the shooter. We must pray for our enemies as well, after all. They may seem like monsters, but they walked the earth with us. Pray for those who are walking too close to the edge tonight. For those who are afraid, lonely, angry and tired. Be nice. You don't have to be anything but to make a difference.