I have been haunted all week. I take news in tiny doses, so deeply does the pain of war, or race related massacre, or dear god, nineteen little children and two of their teachers, drop me to my knees. I couldn’t stop the kaleidoscope of images slamming into one another. Their child would not be kissed goodnight tonight. The teachers’ children motherless. The living children traumatized by unspeakable cruelty. A collective trauma, the ripple effect still lapping up against another, and another, and another life.
When I feel hopeless – or helpless in this case – and wow, do I ever, I start the only place I can by balancing me. After Uvalde, I got on my SUP (Standup Paddleboard) and took to the lake to remind me of beauty. Of goodness. And then, when the tripwires of my heart have stopped thrumming, I try to make the world I have any influence over a better place. I do it intentionally. I ask the person who is assisting me at the nursery their name, and then use it, “have a nice day, Pete.” I smile at someone I don’t know. Because if I do nothing I sink. So, I start there. Then I ask myself is there anything else I can do? Is there another way I can affect change? Only, I can’t ask ‘is there something more’ yet because my heart is pummeled by the level of grief these families are experiencing.
When horrifying things happen, I MUST find good. Balance. Equilibrium. Or I am lost. And if I am lost, those who harm will have won again, if in a different way. I refuse to let that happen. To be collateral damage. But how?
I will find moments of joy today. I will remind myself there is good in this broken world. And on this cold, windy, overcast day, I will do something to lighten my heart. I’ll do yard work. I’ll make a complicated dinner because cooking soothes me, the creativity of it reminds me of hope. I’ll make sure I am gentle with myself and others. I’ll sit and listen to my trickling waterfall, close my eyes and hear birdsong. I’ll read this evening with my husband nearby. Please take care of you right now. Be intentional about it. You matter especially now.
We won’t be able to make sense of it. Some people are just bent. Evil. It was one of the hardest pieces for me to lay down out of my own experience… that I wouldn’t be able to understand or make sense of it. That ‘it’ would remain a mystery to me, and I had to be okay without an answer. Why did my dad do what he did? Why did mom throw in with him and let her kids twist in the wind? Why did my ex use force? I will never know. And that’s a reality I must live with.
So today. Today I’ll talk to my family. I will hold the hearts of those shattered parents and their families who are grieving in mine. I will try to offer hope to someone looking for good. I cannot afford to lose sight of the beauty in this world; the river, a rose, the sunrise, the scent of evergreens, the sweetness of a smile, the warmth of a hug and connection. Thank you for yours.