Like many of you, I have been so deeply saddened by what happened in Connecticut this Friday. I have taken this weekend to really process my feelings and thoughts on the topic. I have read post after post on social media and blogs and I just wanted to kind of work my thoughts out for myself through writing.
It made me sad to see the topic of a lot of conversation turn to things like gun control, mental illness treatment and even how this world is a broken, miserable place. These things make my heart hurt. It makes me even more sad to see this tragedy bring those conversations up. My view in light of what happened this Friday is quite a bit different from the ones I have seen.
While I've cried countless tears, my thoughts have turned to how I can be not only a better parent to my precious boys, but how I can be a better human being to all those around me. My initial reaction is to let this shooting change me for the worse, be more cynical, and live in fear. I say let the legacy of these beautiful ones who have left this earth far too soon change you for the good.
Be more aware of your surroundings.
I'm not talking about keeping an eye out for shifty people. I'm talking about opening your eyes to those who might need a smile, a hello, a how how your day been. Encourage your children to be friendly to the child who may be friendless, different or just a bit sad. It makes me wonder, what if the person who did all this had a friend, someone he could confide in to talk about his feelings with. Would that have changed the decisions he made. Maybe not, but you never know.
I see lots of people demanding change in laws and policies. At first glance it seems that stronger gun control is the answer or that easier access to mental health care is needed. I personally don't have very much confidence that our government is going to be making any changes to gun laws anytime soon and what good is access to mental health care if the person who many be in need of it is probably not in the right state of mind to realize that they need it. I say, let us be the change.
Be the good you wish to see in the world. Be a more present parent, friend, neighbor. We can't always push the blame to someone else, we need to take a stand and make a difference starting with our own communities. Rather than concern ourselves with national issues, focus on where you can make the biggest impact and do the most good. It may be your school, church, women's group or even your street.
Like so many I have been looking for answers to questions when seeking comfort. Who would do this? What kind of person are they? Why would this happen? Why is the world filled with so much evil? None of my questions have been answered and these questions have brought me no piece. Then I shifted my focus. On the news I saw hundreds gathered in churches in support of these families affected my this tragedy. There were reports of volunteers giving of their time around the clock in support of the investigation. There were the grief stricken being comforted by their community. Around the world I saw support and respect for the community of Sandy Hook: social media posts, moments of silence, black arm bands on athletes, flags at half mast. It was an overwhelming out pouring of love by those who knew as well as had no connection with the people of this town. As soon as I changed my focus I saw love, support and good...so much good in the people of the world. It made my heart full and brought me the comfort I was seeking.
In the coming weeks the news stories will dwindle, packages will eagerly be opened, and our daily thoughts will return to laundry, work and paying bills. My hope is that we let this sadness and sorrow that we are all feeling change us not only for the good, but for our lifetime. Cherish every single second you have with your loved ones. The sports game can wait, the dishes can wait, but your children need you now! Be ever present in their daily lives and make sure they always know how special they are and how much you love them.