Monday, December 17, 2012

On Being the Antidote

Via Flickr Creative Commons,
the Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums
After Friday's horrific school shooting in Connecticut, life went on in our corner of the world this weekend. Christmas gifts were bought. A party was attended. And yet, there is nothing that we did that wasn't somehow chilled by the shadow of what had happened. The unfathomable horror of one's own child being mercilessly slaughtered does not swiftly depart any parent who allows even for a moment such a contemplation to enter their thoughts.

We received papers from my oldest daughter's school today - discussing the school's own actions and plans, and also offering cogent advice to parents on how and/or whether to discuss the situation in depth with their own children.

The only thing I could keep thinking was, I shouldn't even be in the position of having to wonder whether my 5 year old has already heard anything about this at school, because things like this shouldn't happen. The shooting such an angry red wound on the end of 2012, which has forever altered December and Christmas for countless families. It is all symptomatic of a deeply troubled, ill world.

I have not much in the way of comfort to offer my be honest it has been exceptionally hard to comfort myself on this count. One thing I remind myself in terms of safety and managing fears of is the real risks we undertake every day to live our lives: driving cars, for example. Beside this pragmatic analysis, I also grasp at positives. I embrace my children, I treasure a quiet evening at home with my husband, I laugh with my friend over the little bumps and bends in the road that are a mom's life. I try to go out of my way to relate to my friends and family a little more patiently, a little more graciously. In the face of the worst of what humans can do, the best of what life has to offer starts with us and our attitudes. It starts with our abilities to cultivate the right priorities, and to cherish those around us. We are the antidote, and every day we get a chance to celebrate that duty.

As the days until Christmas approach, savor your time. Savor your errands and your baking. Try hard to maintain your patience in the face of the usual stresses. Offer grace wherever possible. Say prayers, if you say them, most especially for the victims' families and loved ones. Be the best human you can be. Be the antidote.

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