I have also been avoiding quiet time in the bath. I've had the radio on in the car, in the studio. I've been reading books in bed until I can't keep my eyes open. Movies. Work. Anything to avoid the open space moments where my mind has a few extra seconds to linger. Anything to avoid the crushing vulnerability and pain that arrive when my thoughts go toward their terror, the terror of their parents and families.
The other night, I came downstairs at 2:30am. No longer able to avoid the open space, I sobbed, prayed, lit more candles.
And I made a promise.
:: To simply be broken.
It takes bravery to be broken. To let the grief linger. To let our hearts feel. To be angry. Then overwhelmingly sad. And confused.
I don't have the answers on how to navigate the broken pieces, I just know that it's important that we let ourselves move through it instead of avoiding it, perhaps with political opinions and reactive commentary that has been so rampant these last many days. The children, the parents, their families... more than anything, need for us to be broken with them.
This I also know to be true: Where there is brokenness, there are cracks. Where there are cracks, there is light. Where there is light, there is an opportunity to come alive. And grow. And change. And rise up from the ashes of despair and into a new way of seeing and being and believing and effecting change. Brokenness has the capacity to birth wholeness.
I made a promise.
:: To be brave in my brokenness and tell my story.
I grew up with guns all around me. I was shooting guns in the back yards of rural northern Florida from the time I was 7 years old. It was a part of the culture - a hunting culture, a personal protection culture, a deeply entrenched American culture. Later, I became a medical social worker where I had a front line view in ERs and ICUs across this country where lack of mental health care and gun violence would often intersect in countless heart breaking situations for all involved. My husband has worked for years as a trauma nurse in ERs where he has also seen the effects of poor mental health care (as it relates to gun violence or not), and just last week he was on duty when victims from a local mass shooting were sent to his hospital.
I made a promise.
:: To look at my brokenness and ask hard questions about how it can be used in service of repair.
“God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.” - President Obama
I believe in supporting policies and reform that are born from a place of service. Often, our brokenness is our life-line back to our soul centered mission, a place from which purposeful change can be born.
I believe in looking hard at all the ways our policies do and do not serve our most vulnerable (our children, our sick, our elderly, our mentally ill).
I believe in having broad conversations about gun law. I respect and support responsible gun owners, but I also whole heartedly support a ban on combat style weapons, background checks, and more. I believe in looking at the facts, and not propaganda and agendas that don't SERVE our most vulnerable. I believe in having a plan. I believe NRA members want a plan, too.
I believe in overhauling our public education (and miseducation) about mental health, its lack of funding, access, and all the irresponsible reporting done around it. (link via Brene Brown)
I believe in telling our stories, perhaps even breaking from long held truths, and opening up the conversation - all in the spirit of being brave in our brokenness, brave in our sadness, and effecting change.
I believe in looking at all the ways we allow and invite violence into our homes, our schools, our hearts.
I believe our children need us to be their fiercest voice.
I made a promise.
:: To remember
When 9/11 happened, we all stopped. We were still. Silent. Unified in our grief. And then, over time, our grief rose up and fueled our collective commitment to do whatever we could do to make sure it never happened again.
For me, what happened in Newtown is the same. We must remember. We must stop. Be still. And grieve with those who are suffering.
And then we must make sure it never happens again.
I made a promise
:: To think of the little children and the adults that died protecting them as fellow Possibilitarians.
Their lives were rich in possibility, in far reaching horizons. Though their souls live in the brightness of the horizons now, their earthly possibility did not end with their deaths. Their legacies of joy and love will forever live in the hearts of their families. And their legacies of bravery and courage will inspire me to be brave with my own life: to treasure every single breath, to remember that love always wins, to cherish every moment with my son, and to courageously champion efforts to fiercely protect our children, and their possibility rich lives, from violence in our homes, in our policies, in our schools.
Where there is brokenness, there are cracks. Where there are cracks, there is light. Where there is light, there is an opportunity to come alive. And grow. And change. And rise up from the ashes of despair and into a new way of seeing and being and believing and effecting change. Brokenness has the capacity to birth wholeness.
May their lives inspire us to birth a new kind of wholeness for our lives, and for our country. I believe it is possible. I believe their lives make it possible.