As I read the breaking news on my computer screen on Friday, I thought, “oh no. no. No. NO. NO! NO!”
Then there was the dichotomy of both perfect stillness and the need to take everything in.
I wanted to go nowhere, my body inert, and, yet, my mind racing, I sucked in news like oxygen. As if some piece of information might undo this, might redeem this, might make us whole again. Even when it came time to go to an annual church service that I typically love, I no longer wanted to go. The church service is completely done by children, from 4 year olds to 18 year olds. I went, but my heart ached the whole time, the contrast too stark between the sweet little Beginner’s choir in front of me and the faces I now had etched into my mind of Sandy Hook.
And then, on Monday, life expected me not to be inert anymore. It expected me to get things done, and, yet, emails to check in on future programs for Circle de Luz, writing my syllabus for spring semester and the like felt so trivial, so tacky. You probably felt this way, too.
I believe we are each put here on purpose. The world’s needs are so great, it’s problems so vast, and our lives are each meant to be part of the solution. We are each part of what the world has been waiting for– every single one of us.
And because I am an activist at heart, because what I most want is for the world to work, for the pains and problems of living to at least be reduced by the things we CAN control, then my mission in life is to empower people to embrace their passion and purpose so that they can live authentically and give their gifts to the world. What I most want is to guide people to the place where they are no longer distracted by their own perceived shortcomings so that they can see their own stuff for what it is- a laboratory for learning and not quicksand- and move on past it to do the work they were called to do. Because when we are in that spot, that sweet spot of what we were called to do at this time (and our calling can change over time), then the world is one step closer to being in its own sweet spot, to its own healing, to its own renaissance.
So, here is what I know: that when the world or our world ceases to make sense to us, when it all feels too much and too heavy, then our greatest need, after we go still for a moment to process and grieve and wish better for our world/ the world, is to fight the forces that make us want to stop and to actually, powerfully, forcefully keep going.
We are each part of the world’s solutions. We are each essential to this world’s needs. Everywhere you go, you can choose to be light, you can choose to offer kindness, you can choose to offer gentle perspective and compassion and grace. We are not helpless. We do not need someone else to fix this. We can all be a part of fixing it. We can watch our messages about masculinity and violence. We can embrace those who are different or make us comfortable. We can engage in civic discourse instead of screaming at one another about our ideas. We can meditate, pray, complete acts of kindness, or whatever makes us personally feel more connected to the universe.
When tragedies like Sandy Hook happen, my first instinct is to go in, because it hurts so much and I don’t want to hurt anymore, but that instinct is always the wrong one for long term healing and solutions. We must go out. We must still offer our heart. And we mustn’t just hope for better, we must be that better.
We are each here on purpose. In tribute to those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary and everywhere else where senseless violence shows how wounded we really are as a people, we must find our purpose and shamelessly, powerfully, proudly take on our role in healing this world.
The light in me honors the light in you, dear friend.