My normal writings seemed inappropriate, given the events at Chardon High School on Monday. And because my heart has been heavy this week.
Like so many, I’ve watched news coverage, read articles and seen posts to various social media forums.
There has been an outpouring of love, sympathy and compassion. Which is common after tragedy. When the chips are down, people are basically good–and they reach out to others.
But the finger has also been pointed; not enough prayer, too many video games, too much violence in our culture, too many parents not attending to their children, too many guns, not enough guns…and on it goes.
I think we engage in ‘fault-finding’ to make ourselves feel better. My house is armed, so nobody can get to me. Or I don’t allow video games or children who play them into my home, so we are safe. Almost as if we can insulate ourselves, by controlling our surroundings or blaming others. Or finding weakness in others.
That is human nature. It isn’t wrong or bad. Simply people looking for security when they (or their surroundings) feel insecure.
I happened to see a comment via social media that truly upset me this week. Don’t remember the exact words, what day or even where I saw it, but it had to do with “being so grateful to be homeschooling my kids” and being “gathered with a group of others for lessons.”
Honestly, I am not for/against homeschooling. I know I that many children thrive in such academic environments—that it is the best decision for many families.
But throwing that out there this week, when young lives were lost said, “I am so glad this will never happen to my child. I am safe in my bubble, where I have complete control and where nothing can happen to me or mine.”
And I realize that was likely NOT the intended meaning. Just how it felt to me in that moment…
Because I think we inhabit this place together. We live in cities and neighborhoods together. I don’t want to insulate myself or my children from that. I want to form relationships with others, with my community, with other communities. I think that is what gives us strength.
When I see others grieving or in pain, I want to help them. Doesn’t matter if they are strangers to me. And I am not the only one…
I think that is the gut level reaction of most people.
WHAT CAN WE DO? HOW CAN WE HELP?
Obviously, it is impossible to ‘undo’ what happened at Chardon High School this past week. But we can come together. We can support our community and other communities. We can try to BE better and DO better in the future.
Because life does go on…
I remember EXACTLY when I learned that lesson. In January of my junior year in high school, my mother was rushed to the hospital and given ‘last rites’ one weekend. Though she pulled through, she remained hospitalized for a week and was diagnosed with a terminal illness later in the year.
I will never forget the ‘feeling’ of school the following Monday. Nothing changed. Classes went on, weekend plans were made, there was gossip about who was dating who and studying for upcoming tests. Life was Perfectly normal for the student body–the hallways a flurry of activity and chatter.
It was odd to watch life happen around me, when my world was suddenly—and permanently altered. I felt as if I was on the outside, looking in.
As awful as that experience was, it was a lesson I’ll never forget. It is the reason I understand that there are families, teachers, children and a community that will never be the same—their lives were altered by an event.
It doesn’t mean that their lives will be terrible. Just means things will be different in the future, when they have healed and begun to move forward. This will be woven into the fabric of their life experience.
What I’ve been wondering this week…
As life continues on, how can I be part of making the future a little bit better for myself, my family, my community? What is my contribution to society?
When The News Herald was looking for community bloggers nearly two years ago, I sent a proposal right away. I was one of the first ‘Community Media Lab’ bloggers. And I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of our community in this way.
And a little shocked that people seem to read this blog…
The biggest gift to me is the connection with others. It was completely unexpected—and I’m always amazed when strangers introduce themselves because of a blog I’ve written. Or I get an email, text or phone call after a post somehow touched another person.
These connections keep me writing. Because I truly believe that we are ‘sharing’ the human experience. I hope that my humor, honesty and experiences might help people relate to each other a little better.
But that is small. Almost doesn’t count because I love to write.
This is a little (okay…a LOT) more serious than my typical postings.
But it seemed right today.
As the week goes on, my desire to be part of a bigger solution in our community grows stronger. Just need to figure out how. (And some Lovely Ladies’ have started working on this…)
The tragedy has happened. It would almost be another tragedy to bury our heads and move forward, without doing something, changing something…
Because I think something positive should come from this.