Friday, December 14, 2012

A Reflection for Tonight

There are no words. But at the same time there are more than I can write down.

I don't usually write about things like this, feeling as though all of my thoughts are inadequate. Who am I to reflect on the events of this day? The sadness I feel is so miniscule to the heartache so many are experiencing on this night. But in honor of those children and in honor of their parents and all of their families, I am choosing to write. It seems better to reflect than to not.

All of the obvious questions run through my mind. Mostly, why? For some reason, this tragedy strikes a chord with me in a stronger, more raw way than others, surely largely due to having young children right now. Christmas time gives the illusion that this violence is somehow more cruel as it has occurred against the stark contrast of a backdrop of bright twinkle lights, romantic mistletoe, Jingle Bells, festive cocktail parties and family celebrations. The magic and joy of the season now somehow feel slightly wrong or at least the cruelest of ironies. But of  course, this would be horrific no matter the time of year.

I can wallow in this sadness a bit much. Or maybe it isn't wallowing. I don't know. I want to be strong and resilient. I want to appreciate as much as possible that I have absolutely no clue what those families are going through right now. But I also want to be a more compassionate person. I want to sincerely feel real joy for others' joy and good fortune. But compassion also brings feeling real agony for others' despair.

In this sadness, my mind slowly stumbles down a long, winding, dark and haunted road. What are those parents doing right now? I imagine them awake in their beds tonight, fruitlessly, fitfully and tearfully trying to get some rest. I imagine the Christmas presents that they'd already bought for their babies, never to be opened.

It's too much.

How do we handle this?

I only have a few, simple things that seem to help me and these are in no order. First, I stay informed, but then I turn the channel. For me, it is pointless and really counterproductive to listen to or read the details of the violence over and over.

Second, I stay busy. Idleness just leaves my mind too much opportunity to stumble down that road.

Third, I pray.

And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I try to cherish and savor my time with my children. I'm sure we all hugged our little ones more often and more tightly today.What else can we do?

Tonight, we went to the Y as a family. I took my anger out on Zumba. Then after dinner, we let the kids stay up late to enjoy a spontaneous walk in pajamas (and winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves) around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights, drop off some food at the food bank and come home to hot cocoa.

Tonight, as I rocked Veronica, held her tight and sang "Away in a Manger," tears streamed down my face. We are so ridiculously blessed.

It feels strange that when there is so much hurt, the world just keeps on turning. Children still need to be fed. Dishes to be done. Christmas presents to be bought. Time doesn't actually stop, even though it should.

This night, my heart and prayers go out to all of the families in Connecticut. I wish I could do more.

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