Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finding peace when it is impossible

Sometimes it feels as though we are collectively punching ourselves in the gut, repeatedly, and that we will continue until we fall apart.

There is no denying the fact that the catastrophe of December 14, 2012 has left an impact that will never fully leave us. We are again changed. Turn on your TV right now, read the news, even make small talk with another person, and the spotlight will shine on the yesterday: a massacre that ended in twenty-seven people dead (including the gunman) for no discernible reason. And there is nothing to discern here, nothing to figure out, because there is no reason. The fact that so much violence has occurred over the last year in the U.S. is surreal and sickening.

Here's my plea:

Let's look within at times like these, take a moment, and then look outward to the opportunities we have to make those we share our world with more content. I am disheartened right now, sure, disheartened in a way I've been too often since 9-11. These mass shootings and suicidal missions seem to be recurring events, regularly scheduled programming, and we need to stop asking why and instead ask how to move forward. No matter how you dissect this, the bottom line is the murder of twenty young children and six adults, ending in suicide, is the definition of evil. It never should have happened. There is no reason.

Here's the thing: I firmly believe we can't dwell. The best way to fight our own pain is to look to what is out there that's beautiful and share that. Find balance. There is so much beauty! And the more we focus on it, and the more we nurture it, the more of it we'll notice and be able to share with those who have given up on the world. Conversely, the more we focus on the pain and the sickness, the more we become accustomed to the feel of tragedy, the more we feed its existence.

What I wish everyone would do: Show support. Research, if need be. But then take a moment. Focus on doing work that makes the world better. Do something nice, pay something forward, make another person feel a little bit better. There is no more important time to do this. This is my plea because I have to believe it will help. We are capable, communally, of being better than we've been. So let's get to it.

Thanks to my good friend, I began my day with this article:  22 Random Acts of Kindness That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity. It made me smile. And smiling is what I think we all need to do, if only for a moment today.

I'm not saying ignore; that is impossible. I'm saying look to the good. Our country has consumed so much pain and that pain has, in turn, consumed us. What do we have to lose by looking to find balance? Perhaps energy collected in a positive way will help to allow that spotlight to move a little to the right and maybe even illuminate our ability to come together and make change just when it seemed we'd fall apart.


  1. I can't imagine how a little kid who watches T.V can be indifferent to the violent scenes depicted on a regular basis. I can't stand it myself and I don't understand why adults accept violence and seem to take for granted that it will not influence their kids' behaviors.

  2. I agree, Julia, we're faced with so much violence all the time that it numbs.


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