I was part of that flood of tears that engulfed this whole world ten years ago, learning of Sandy Hook.
It was a time apart for me, but I knew even then that we lost our small selves and became part of a vast current. We went to sleep, and woke up with our faces wet with tears, in another place, another world, the world we are now.
Like so many others, I was broken open, and for a time all I wanted to do was embrace those grieving families, and hold our precious children close.
We made vows, and then more vows, saying, ‘never again’, because we knew that only more courage and wisdom and sacrifice could change this country enough to put a stop to these threats to our children, which is to say, to our very own bodies.
We have seen so many fall after that day in 2012; and so many buried by grief, or cowed; exhausted, or terrified, or needing distraction, not yet able to hold the awful truths of the dangers we live with here.
After the primal cries, and public commitments, after more political theatre and the same exact meaningless words from our so-called ‘leaders’, after all the rage and resignation, some few have kept going, advocating for safety and peace. But so few listen. We don’t have much of an attention span in this country for sustained inquiry, or dialogue.
If you can bear it, listen to what’s on offer, yet again. Who is saying anything that will heal these already open wounds? We slam the door on what we’ve heard too many times. We avoid getting near anything that reveals to us what has yet to be mended in our body and culture.
The dusty books fall apart in our hands, the preacher’s voice croaks some platitude that doesn’t carry past the third row, and so we leave them, ravenous for anything satisfying, for anything at all to bring home that will sustain our families, for even so much as a drop of oil for our lamp, to keep a flicker of light going…
There is this mystery also, I know in my bones, that creates something new to match never seen before dangers, like the ones we face now. If we try to name this, we stray from the purpose and urgency that is right in front of us, and that trembles at the thought of our children leaving our home.
How do we measure our commitment now? In feet and inches? In time and money? All we know for sure today is that what’s been done so far to keep us safe since Sandy Hook (and Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School) has not been enough. In fact, we’re even more at risk now than we were 10 years ago. Realizing this alone has got to wake up even the heaviest sleeper.
Our loved ones are still not protected, at least not yet, and so we hold with all our might this slender thread, this one thought, that with time and more strength, and more wisdom, our country will one day become a place of safety and peace.
Now more than ever, we need to be fully committed to the transformation of our callous and violent society. Without question, we have to make this a greater priority than we have so far. It’s a difficult, demanding road ahead, so take care of your precious self, for the long term. We need you. Our children need you. We begin again today.