There are moments in our lives, moments that come along and knock the wind out of our breathing lungs, stop our beating hearts, confound our curious minds, leave us grasping for purpose, for answers.
As I sit watching the news coverage of the unspeakable, crushing horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, my whole being recognizes this moment. Before we can even comprehend this tragedy, the speculation and analysis begins. Who, what, where, when, how? What if? What now? (WHY!?)
Even if we find, or come across, or are fed the answers to these questions, where does that leave us? Twenty babies will not return to their parents' arms today. Another community has been upended and will never be the same.
And we, the helpless observers, will go 'round and 'round with each other (most likely on Facebook).
Well, my plea - my contribution to the conversation - is simple, and it's not new. It's an idea that we know, and we occasionally see in action. But it's something that all too often gets lost in the rat race, in the stresses of the mundane, in the pressure of the bad that feels like it's continually closing in. (LOVE.)
It's a word we toss around. It's an emotion we can't always pinpoint. It's a force that, despite its innate vagueness, means something specific to every human being. And it's something I do not express rightfully and wholeheartedly as often as I should. But the truth is, I am so unspeakably grateful for so much and so many - my comfort, my security, my health, my talents. My amazing husband, my unmatchable parents, my beautiful sister, my wise and stalwart grandparents, my vibrant aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, my peerless friends, my talented coworkers, the very dear and endlessly inspiring children in my life. (I LOVE YOU.)
So my request, in the aftershock of such stabbing brutality and senseless loss, is for each of us - we, the helpless observers - to pause, take a breath, close our eyes, and determine what love means to us, specifically. Once we see it clearly, I then would humbly request we each act on that determination in whatever way seems most appropriate. (YOUR LIFE IS TREASURED.)
My soul is tired of the darkness. It shrivels a little bit more with each utterance of bitterness and each degree of desensitization. It's time to spread joy. It's time to let the ones we love know, every day, how they fortify our spirits, how they perpetuate our joy, how they make this life worthwhile. (YOU ARE MY HAPPINESS.)
To steal a sentiment from one of my dear friends (Alexis, you have a beautiful heart), it's time to honor those precious lives lost, those families ripped asunder, the flowing tears of that weeping New England town, and the frustrations of this tormented nation.
Ready? Let's start.