|Angel of Love and Healing Light|
I spent Friday morning working some Christmas magic for a friend of mine. She needed some magic. The truth is that I needed the magic too. As busy as I've been and as overwhelmed as I was feeling, I jumped off my crazy train and opened up to the possibility of making space to do something nice for someone. It was food for my soul.
So, afterward my fellow elves and I went out to lunch. We sat at a table across from a gigantic TV screen. I saw "BREAKING NEWS" flash along the bottom of the screen and didn't think much of it. All news seems to be BREAKING these days. I try to avoid the news. My eyes kept moving back to the screen.
I saw the story. I couldn't believe what I saw. Parents holding each other tightly. Panicked, grief-stricken faces. 20 children confirmed dead. Soon, tears were streaming down my face. We asked our server to change the channel.
After lunch I picked my daughter up from her pre-school. Then, my first grade son from his elementary school. The three of us headed home and waited for my fifth grade son to get off the bus. We drove home. I decided to check Facebook while my kids hopped around the kitchen - giggling over the multiple ways they found to torment each other after a long day apart. With each post I read my heart sank deeper into my chest. My oldest asked if they could watch a Christmas movie. I closed Facebook, thinking I might never go back. At least not for a few days. I scooped up my babies. We situated ourselves on the couch, weaving our arms and legs through each other's arms and legs until we were content in one tangled heap. I squeezed each of them. I wanted them close to me. We watched Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. They stared at the screen, our Christmas tree lights twinkling as the sky darkened outside. I wondered how I could keep us all together, safe and warm, until the end of time. Once again, tears rolled down my face.
Like so many, I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the tragic deaths that took place on Friday. 20 babies will never again fall into a cuddly heap with their mothers or fathers, sisters or brothers. My heart joins the many hearts broken for the families who lost a loved one in Newtown, Connecticut.
What happened at Sandy Hook is unthinkable. The pain is unimaginable. Those parents are living every parent's worst nightmare. To lose a child - it's not natural.
When I see the list of names of the sweet little loves who lost their lives on Friday, it is the age that most of them share that makes my heart stop. So many of them were just six years old. I have a six year old. He is in first grade. He is curious. He is silly and spontaneous. He loves to joke around. He might be laughing one minute and screaming the next. When I look at him, I cannot bear the thought that so many families in Connecticut lost someone just like him - such a big life in that small body, and so full of love.
How can life just keep going after such a horrific loss? Where do we go from here?
A lot of people say we need stricter gun laws here in America. A lot of people think we need to provide better mental health care and services to those in need. I'm sure both are true.
Here is what else I'm thinking though... In order to go on, we need something bigger than stricter policies and better care. I keep thinking about my kids and how they might wake from a nightmare. They are scared. No matter what I do or say, they are essentially inconsolable until they feel safe, until they are wrapped in my arms.
It is time for us to wrap our arms around each other.
Trying to identify the meaning of such tragedy is a fruitless effort. We can make it mean something though. We can stop fighting. We can put our egos aside. We can open up to our similarities, our humanity, and to our lives on earth together, and decide that we're just not going to buy into the fear that makes us think guns can keep us safe anymore. The fear that keeps us glued to violent shows and video games, the fear that keeps our leaders arguing instead of working together, and the fear that makes us think there isn't something more - something bigger and better and truer - out there. Love is the opposite of fear. It is time to love and be loved. To treat every day like the day after a tragedy. We can be raw, vulnerable, and quick to comfort our friends in need. We can wrap our arms around each other. We can love and be loved.
We fill ourselves with so much negativity - the news, the net, the aisles at Costco. Our souls are on a processed food diet. What if, instead of spending 30 minutes watching the news and surfing the Internet, we did that for 10 minutes, and spent 20 minutes praying? Or just repeating the word: LOVE, love, love, LoVe... What if we were quick to forgive each other? What if we hugged more? What if we smiled at each other? What if we looked up from our smart phones and stared into our children's eyes instead? We would see love.
20 little bodies are no more, but those beautiful spirits live on. They are smiling, giggling, dancing in the heavens, and they are whispering in our ears, telling us that love is the answer. They are telling us to love big and hard and real. To love like a six year-old.
May those sweet souls rest in peace. May their loved ones find the strength to carry on. May we all find ways to open up to love and being loved. xo