Saturday, December 15, 2012

From Tragedy Comes Patience

Yesterday, when the news broke about Sandy Hook Elementary, it took me two or three hours to turn on the TV. I'm not sure what it was, if I was so hard at work that I put it off, or if I couldn't bear to think about it. Or, maybe I knew that once I turned the news on, I wouldn't be able to pull myself away for over an hour.

What is it about these details that we seek? I imagine that we think if we listen long enough, we'll hear the solution to the problem: We can prevent this with more security. It won't happen again if we outlaw guns. More mental health care will keep us all safe. After realizing that I had stood in front of my television, mouth agape and stomach queasy for longer than a half hour, I shut it off.

Then I returned 20 minutes later and turned it back on.

Off again. What do I think about? Always first comes the realization that one of those children could be MY child, lost forever, making my life ever dark, sad, and bleak. Then comes the faces of the children that I've worked with, the teachers that I have interacted with, the cop that I am married to that may all some day have to face this frightening and deadly situation.

What do I do?

What do any of us do? I've read all day on Facebook the ponderings of how we should be honoring these victims and how we stop it from ever happening again. My fingers have twitched as I've wanted to add my views and stances. But I've not typed a single comment. I just can't.

I don't have any answers.

So, this weekend, I've done the only things I'm capable of. I have smiled constantly at my daughter. I squeezed my husband extra tight as he headed off to the police station for work. I have been exceptionally patient with my daughter, as she has tantrums from exhaustion and missing her daddy. Any other weekend I would have snapped at her. Any other day I would have turned on cartoons and retreated to my office for a break.

Not today. Today is for hugs and kisses and building towers together. Today is for understanding frustrated feelings, taking deep breaths, and keeping my voice calm.  Today is about holding my daughter's hand, kissing her cheeks, and holding her tight. Maybe it's too simple.

But it's all I can do.

Maybe this won't last very long. Patience and the bitter sting of tragedy don't last forever. But for today, I honor all the lives that have been lost by being exceptionally patient and loving in this moment that I am blessed with right now.

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