Worlds Apart · When Tragedy Strikes
On December 14th, mid-morning, I was enjoying a bowl of homemade soup, an item I had eaten the night before and finished, giddy for the onset of breakfast so I could have more. I sat, admiring the richness of the broth made from organic ingredients. My attempt at super clean living had only lightly been entertained until a diagnosis of Lyme Disease put me instantly, intimately in touch with the importance of long-term health. I was also engaged in another new practice: being in the moment; fostering the feeling of love and graciousness in the present, cultivating an emotion of love for everything I had at that instance.
A few states away, a young man armed with really bad thoughts, gunned down 26 people in a facility where being overpowered by the occupants was but a joke.
Wow, were we worlds apart.
What’s left to say? It’s an act that compares with real atrocities devised only by the breed known as humans. The only thing that separates us from the animals is logic. So what logic caused this?
What’s it matter? What matters is a thought was brewing and it went unchecked.
Maybe ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ and ‘if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns,’ but seldom do the fashioners of tragedy don criminal records. Without warning, citizens who have legally or illegally obtained weapons of quick destruction pull it off and get away—dead or alive. And they leave behind the hard stuff.
There’s enough difficulty in life without someone taking what wasn’t theirs. There’s enough entitlement without destroying the chance for others to dream. There are enough things we wish we could take back without lending unconscionable endings to bad ideas.
Or at least you’d think.
Perhaps there’s a danger in family secrets. Mrs. Lanza didn’t talk about her home life. In most parts, that’s considered noble. Women who suffer in private are the ones with strength. The concern she endured for her boy she shared with no one.
How ironic that a few days earlier, a knife attack in China was blamed on a shortage of sufficient mental health facilities and lack of freedom. If you read The Soloist by Steve Lopez, you’d have come across the data that the boost in homelessness years ago was facilitated by states closing the doors on mental health institutions and telling families to take patients home.
Talk about ill-equipped.
Perhaps Mrs. Lanza had no options. Perhaps all the money in the world couldn’t pinpoint what would help. Perhaps she was afraid what would happen if she told.
While the families in Newtown deal with the hard stuff, the rest of us will conjure images of how terrified a mob of babies, huddled together for the massacre, felt in their last moments and wonder what we could have done. What anyone could have done. What protocol should have been in place to prevent yet another unimaginable tragedy. When they occur, we’re reminded that we lapse one step behind prevention while pointing the finger at breaches in legislation and constitutional freedoms.
There’s so much that will be debated but here’s what I’m going to do: keep no secrets. I’m going to put myself out there. When ideas go astray, there’s a helpline for anything. Intervention is available everywhere. Knowledge is king and in this era of information exploitation via a multitude of social platforms, I’m surprised at how people who need the most help avoid it so coyly. I’m not saying I’m at risk for diving into the deep but perhaps by reaching out and sharing my “hard stuff” I’ll help someone else avoid nurturing a really bad thought.
It’s easy to get down. It’s far more common to choose a thought of despair than one of hope when perceptions are skewed. It’s far more familiar to be hopeless when drama and intolerance are televised all around. Perhaps if we invested in reaching out, opening up, being vulnerable, starting dialog and offering a hand to help keep our collective spirit up, things could actually get better.
I’ll start. Here’s where I am. I had a rough time wondering why and contemplating the hostility the debates that have ignited will cause. But I’m not budging from a place of love. And we can’t come from that place when we’re unwilling to conceive of how to make things better. I embrace those who are going through the hard stuff and I offer my words of support when I say, “Know that you are loved.”
And I’m going to do it again. And again. I thought when I shared my blogs and books with the world I was putting myself out there in a profound way but fictional accounts of ideals portrayed by fabricated players aren’t the deepest means with which I can connect. I need a checkpoint for sincerity, humiliation and spirituality and I just found one.
I was once called crazy by a competent professional. Since then I decided a crazy mind is a terrible thing to waste. Hope you agree.
Welcome to my blog.
Until next time…