Some wounds cut deeper than others. Pema Chodron has a quote, “…nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know…” I realize it’s exhausting to hold the weight of the pain from the loss of life at Sandy Hook. It would be so much easier to put it down. I really haven’t slept much. I close my eyes and see those little faces. I haven’t been able to write, and I’m still struggling now. Weeping, however, is no problem. Whenever anything tragic and incomprehensible happens, it’s so challenging to lean in to all the feelings that arise. Helplessness, fear, despair, total heartbreak. The mind can’t make sense of something that has no logic, so eventually it gets tired and looks for distraction. Or we go to blame. But we really need to sit with this and do better this time. We need this wound to let the light in. Or it’s going to happen again.
Underneath all of that, I’ll say it again. We’ve created a world that glorifies violence and power and material wealth. We tell our boys they should be tough, and our girls they should be objects. We tell ourselves all kinds of things that aren’t true, that deny our incredible potential to be at peace and to care for one another. We feed our children and ourselves a steady diet of Not. Good. Enough. And it leads to incredible suffering. It’s rough enough for an adult to be inundated with those messages all the time, but children? Teenagers? If you want to see a more peaceful, loving world around you, create a more peaceful, loving world within you. Not everyone is going to get on board with that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better by our children in the meantime. Whether you believe in your right to own a gun or you think our laws are way too lax, no one, NO ONE wants to worry when they drop their kids off at school. And it should be totally obvious by now, the current plan is not working. We are allowing people to slip through the cracks. Every time a tragedy like this happens, everyone says they saw it coming. There are always signs. If you’re worried about your child, a family member, a friend’s child, you ought to have somewhere to go with your fears. Some support, some meaningful help. And we are just making it too easy for desperately troubled people to have access to guns. I realize the weapons on Friday were legally owned by the boy’s mother, may she rest in peace. Nonetheless, this kind of thing is happening too frequently, and it’s a form of avoidance to say a person will find a way if they want to. We don’t need to make it easy.
When you have these conversations do whatever you can to open your mind to someone else’s way of thinking. Even if it’s completely at odds with what you believe in your heart. I’m a peace-loving yoga teacher, no surprise there. I don’t eat animals. We don’t have toy guns in the house, there are no violent video games. My kids watch a couple of PBS shows I Tivo. No commercials. But you know what? To some people that would seem crazy. And if I grew up in a place where my family hunted for their food, I bet I’d feel a lot differently about lots of things. Love requires acceptance. It doesn’t mean you have to agree or give up what you believe. But hopefully it can include some respect, some loosening of the grip on the need to be right. We don’t need to take a differing viewpoint as a rejection or judgment against our own. WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. This is one planet we have here.
Saturday I opened my closet door and saw all the gifts I’ve stashed for my kids that I need to wrap. And I realized with a thud in my heart that there are other gifts in other closets in Connecticut that will never, ever be opened. We’ve lost too much already. Let’s please not lose this chance to work together and make some desperately needed changes. That’s the very least we can do for those little souls. For those parents who cannot hug their beautiful babies anymore. For the children we still have. And for each other. Sending you love and a huge hug. And sending continued love and prayers to all the families who are suffering the loss of children anywhere. My heart goes out to you more than I can say.