It’s hard to know where to begin right now. I have wept a lot, and I expect I’ll continue to do that every time I think about all the parents who don’t get to hug their children anymore, and all the children who had their lives ended tragically, senselessly, violently, without warning yesterday. It’s so devastating no words can do it any justice. This is not a political issue. This is an issue that affects all of our children equally. We are raising them in a violent culture and a violent world. We’re so desensitized to it, we don’t even realize anymore. We are at war within ourselves, and it’s reflected back at us all day long, on television, in film, in the violent video games parents brush off as “just for fun”. We are inundated with messages that we are not enough, that we are not okay, that almost nothing about us is right. That if we would only work harder, and make more money, and have more things, and weigh less, or buff up more, if we’d only make ourselves “right”, then we’d be good enough, then we’d be happy. We feed our children a diet of this information as well. During their most formative years, when what they need is love, acceptance, reassurance and open arms. We have a culture that is increasingly disconnecting, where people hide behind technology to express things that are challenging to say. Where families go to dinner and spend more time on their gadgets than with each other. Where moments are lost, and chances to see that something is not right are missed. We keep ourselves busy, distracted, scheduled to the point of exhaustion, because that’s what we need to do to run from our own truth. We live in a world where we bomb each other and build walls and fight over differing beliefs, and oil and power. As if we are not all in the same family, on the same planet. This is no way to live, and we know it but it seems the system is in place, right? So what if we feel alone, separated from each other, alienated and lonely? Seems to work for everyone else, it must be me. Except it’s not just you, it’s all of us, we all feel it, we all know it’s not supposed to be like this. There’s no humanity in a gadget. There’s no warmth living life in a box, driving to work in a box, sitting in a box, staring at a box, and going home to stare at another one. We foster this idea of survival of the fittest, of never exposing our vulnerability for fear someone will go for our jugulars. Because, you know, it’s a dog eat dog world. Even though dogs don’t eat each other, and Darwin, when he spoke of human evolution in, “The Descent of Man”, spoke of “survival of the fittest” only twice, and of LOVE ninety-five times. We’ve gotten the story wrong, but we insist on sticking with it.
The other part of the equation is that we are just making it too easy for extremely troubled people to have access to guns. How many innocent people need to die before we stand up and say, “Enough!”? This is our purpose, we are supposed to take care of one another, to extend a hand, a shoulder, anything we’ve got. We’re wired for this. We are literally hard-wired for compassion. Why am I crying all day? Because I have children. And I can imagine not knowing where to go, what to do, how to breathe. I can imagine wanting everyone I love to help me, and also not wanting a single person to come near me. I can imagine having nothing, not one thing except the the word, “NO”. Please, no. We have something called mirror neurons, Google it if you’re not familiar. This is why the whole country came to a standstill yesterday. It’s natural to us. We do care. We can change this. It’s a lot easier then the effort we’re making now to deny who and what we are. Part of love is truth. Yesterday someone suggested I might be perpetuating negativity with my feelings around this. I’m very hopeful and optimistic we can turn things around, I write about that every day. It’s an individual thing. People want to blame “society”. Society is made up of individuals. Each person has to do the work to heal, to come back to love, to pay attention to what they’re feeding themselves. Love does not pretend everything is okay. Love does not ignore the shadow. Sometimes love means holding up a mirror and looking at those things that are painful to acknowledge. Taking steps that are so uncomfortable but so necessary for healing. Not doing that leads to more violence outside. Not moving toward your own healing, toward your own peace, is the same as committing yourself to more outward heartache. Because what we deny doesn’t disappear, it comes back five times harder. Praying with everything I’ve got for those little souls, for their families, and for all of us. We can do better than this, we truly can. Sending you so much love. And an extra hug to anyone, anywhere who has ever lost a child for any reason.