Friday, December 21, 2012

What the world needs now...

Like many people, I spent last week in shock and sadness.  All death is sad, but senseless death leaves us in the state of confusion and despair. The tragic loss of 27 lives, 20 of them so young they had yet to experience much of life, shook me to the core.  I mourn the death of those 27 lives.  I mourn for the victims' families who must carry on without the smiles and laughter of their loved ones to warm their hearts.  I mourn for the children and teachers who survived the tragic shooting as they attempt to rebuild some sense of normalcy. And yes, I even mourn for the family of the young man responsible for these deaths as they struggle to find some way to carry forward.

This week was also tough for more personal reasons.  Sunday was the 13th anniversary of the death of my friend Barry. I'm not a stranger to senseless death.  13 years ago, Barry killed himself leaving behind friends and family.  His son, now an intelligent and thoughtful young man, was only a month old at the time. If there is anything that Barry's death taught me it is that no amount of searching for answers will ever yield ones that will satisfy my broken heart.  Truth be told, I don't know that there are answers to be found.

Barry was like a big brother to me. I miss him with a fierceness.
But I do know that I believe that we should not let tragedy define us.  Allow space and time to be sad and angry; mourn, cry, scream, shake your fist at the world, but do not let it consume you.  It is what we choose to do in our everyday lives that ought to define us.  When I have left this world, I want the legacy I leave to be gentle and kind.

I tell my daughter that there are two things the world needs more of: compassion and courage.  We need the compassion to reach out and embrace our communities both locally and globally, but we also need the courage to be compassionate when the world seems anything but. Its easy to be compassionate when our world is soft and gentle, its much more difficult to be compassionate when it seems hard and jaded.  And yet, compassion is needed the most during these times. Aria is still so little and I'm not sure she completely understands but I hope that the choices I make in raising her lead her to these two truths.

Since the weather is getting colder, we focused mostly on items that would provide warmth.
Day 17 on our advent calender was a brick in the pathway to compassion and courage.  It was already on the list before the Sandy Hook tragedy but it seemed even more important after.  We needed to be able to do something to connect with our community and our sense of humanity, I needed to be able to do something.  Grandma Shellie, Aria, and I put together a few care packages that included socks, gloves, handwarmers, and trail mix and gifted them to people living on the streets. Aria was so excited to play her important role of gift giver.  And I was excited to share with her the importance of giving to those less fortunate.  I have no idea what led these people to the streets, but I don't believe it is my job to judge and speculate.  It is however my job to raise my daughter to care about the world and its inhabitants and that includes those who are not in our immediate circle of family and friends.  We are not wealthy by any means. We rent a small two bedroom apartment, we don't own a car, we literally make it month to month.  BUT we do have clothing, food, a roof over our head, running water, warm beds, and most importantly we have each other.  And while we may not have a lot of money, we can share the little we do have.  So I've decided that this will become a monthly family tradition.  I want Aria to know that compassion is something that should occur year round not just at Christmastime.

My little force of compassion and courage.  Aria is actually very shy so it can be tough for her to approach strangers, but she took her role of gift giver very seriously and wanted to be the person to gift the packages.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy I saw many faces of humanity.  Some that made my heart soar and some that pained me.  I don't pretend to know the solutions but I do know that our world is in sore need of more love.  Let's make compassion and courage an everyday part of our culture.  <3

May you find peace, love, and happiness in your lives and the courage to bring compassion into the lives of others.


No comments:

Post a Comment