Some Much Needed Levity
It's almost impossible not to have a heavy heart this week--the pain radiates out from Newtown and we, as parents, teachers, as human beings, place ourselves in the feet of the Newtown community. As we grapple with the idea that there is often no way to foresee such a horrendous act, even as people pretend they could and shift to blaming those around the young man who acted so violently, so viciously, with such evil.
We grappled this week with how to tell our children, whether to send our children to school. We read and watched in horror as the media and people on the internet blamed Asperger's for the shooter's spree killing. We also stood and fought against such ignorance, and then as the individual victims' stories came out, we felt all too keenly the pain and the bravery of the parents, siblings, spouses, children who lost someone. We learned that at least one, probably two of the sweet, innocent children lost were autistic. And we grieved some more.
Grief, disbelief, anger, despair. I have little doubt we all felt that this week, even those who wrote such nasty, awful things about individuals with Asperger's and those grappling with mental health issues. Those who kept posting pictures of weapons and advocated everyone being armed, that more guns were a solution, felt the same things. So did those who advocated strict gun control.
Out of the same swirling morass of similar emotions came vastly different responses. We forget that we all experienced the same emotions. We continue to forget the common humanity that underlies each of us. We see enemies everywhere. And we forget that we are a global community: one people, with all life valuable.
Each of us can only do the best we can. It's all we've got: the belief that what we do can and does matter, that we can make a difference. It's up to us whether it's a positive or a negative difference.
Somehow we must loosen the heaviness weighing on our hearts and souls while still holding on to the lessons learned: lessons that move us forward into a more full and "joyful participation with the "sorrows of the world."
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. --Joseph Campbell