Ahem. Is this thing on? I don’t know how to process difficult things in life except to write about them. So here we go…
This week has been shit-tastic. You know what I mean. I’m completely exhausted. I literally feel dazed. Hopefully next week, the news will be filled with nothing but people being awesome and helping each other. Yes there has, thankfully, been tons of that this week but always in response to something terrible. I wonder what it would be like if we were that awesome to each other just on like a Tuesday.
I don’t go to the mall often. It is very stressful on both children and parents to go to the mall. I don’t want to stress my children out and I don’t want to be stressed out more than I currently am. But once in a great while, I decide to go to the mall. I had my mother and my children with me. Only just a few of the most precious people in my life. We sat in the food court and disturbed everyone else’s meal. We ate hot dogs and yelled a lot. We shopped. We bought pants and matching outfits for the children. It was a regular day.
The next day, someone went into the same mall and opened fire. Mercifully, no one died but two were injured. The kid who did it said he walked into a school inside of a mall (I think we can all agree that in our current climate, this is just a terrible idea) and opened fire because he’d “had a bad week.”
He went to Walmart, bought a gun and an iPod. He drove to the mall. He posted a message on 4chan. He got out of his car, walked into the mall right next to the food court, and opened fire. Because he had a bad week.
Maybe, just maybe, if he’d been subjected to a background check and a waiting period, he would have changed his mind. Maybe a cute girl (or guy) would have smiled at him and maybe he would have thought to himself “things aren’t so bad.” Maybe he would’ve won $20 in the lottery and thought “that was kind of cool.” Maybe he would’ve gone to the movies and seen something that warmed his heart. Maybe he would’ve decided he didn’t need that gun.
I am a mother now. I would literally lay down my life for my children. I would shove them out of the way if there were a car careening out of control. I would dive into a riptide. I would throw myself from a moving train. I would shield them from a bullet with my body. And I will also fight LIKE HELL to convince someone, anyone, to help me protect them from someone who is “having a bad week.”
I had a teacher once, a total ego-maniac but a reasonably good teacher, put a cup in the middle of the room. He made us all sit around looking at the cup. Some of us could see the handle of the cup and some of us could the smooth side of the cup. Others could see part of the handle and some could see a crack in the cup. His point, and it was well-made, was that we are all looking at the same cup and seeing different things.
I hope we can all at least look at the SAME cup. That might be a good place to start.
I could be very depressed today about the state of this country and this world. We are obviously at odds. We are also at war with each other. We are terrorizing each other and it is a terrorist act every time someone walks into a school or a movie theater with a gun and opens fire. That is terrorism. Terrorists aren’t people of a different color from a different country. What a joke! The kid who “had a bad week” is a terrorist. We live in fear of another 9/11. 9/11 is still happening and we are doing it to each other!
So how do we fix this? I don’t know. I have a few ideas though.
I’m going to try to go into a store without being afraid. I’m going to try to go to the movies without being afraid. I’m going to try to teach my children that they don’t have to be afraid. I’m going to try to spread love even when I’m afraid. I’m going to turn off the news. I’m going to go outside. I’m going to understand that senseless and terrible things happen. I’m going to encourage you and others not to share graphic images of people’s legs blown off on Facebook. Not because I’m trying to be disrespectful to those injured but because I don’t want to see that when I close my eyes at night. I don’t want to be terrified by that. Oh and children use Facebook and they don’t need to see that either.
Let us step lightly and consider what we do and say before we do and say it. Let us protect our children from the things that we can protect them from and teach them that fear is never the answer. Let us teach them that they needn’t be afraid of a dark skinned man any more than they need to be afraid of a light skinned one. Let us teach them that the media is wrong about half the time and that when bad things happen, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to turn the TV off and step away from twitter. Let us teach them that united we stand and DIVIDED (and this applies to anything) we fall.
I will always work to change my thinking. I will say “All is well,” every time I feel afraid. I will create a haven of goodness for myself and my family. I will choose the path of joy and not the path of fear. I will make myself more vulnerable and then allow myself to feel the love that people give me when I do. I will stop criticizing myself and other people…even at Walmart (I will try really, really hard). I won’t beat myself up when I fail. I will be nice to people. I will keep on keeping on. I will.