Today, I have spent more time than usual obsessing about mortality and the safety of my children (and your children for that matter).
It is devastatingly insufficient, but I have spent some time thinking and praying for my neighbors in South Florida. I watched the videos the students took of the shooting; I read the story of the football coach who used his body to shield his students from the bullets. I cried for them, and, as useless and meaningless as it may be, I prayed for them.
And then I did the most courageous thing I could think of: I took my daughter to school. And I just thought, “her teachers are so brave.” Not only do they spend 8 hours a day with a room full of four and five year olds who are full of flu germs and asking “why” all the time, but they know that we live a world where people do this kind of thing. And they came to work today anyway;they brought their smiles, their lesson plans, and just did it.
I’ll admit, I had the thought “I know what to do. I’ll keep *my* kids safe. I’ll homeschool them – then they won’t be bullied…or murdered…at school.”
And homeschooling might be right for your family (I’m not judging). There’s a million good reasons to do that, but fear is not one of them.
I have learned from watching Finding Nemo 87,000 times, that when you try to keep “bad things” from happening to your children by isolating them – other bad things happen.
I feel so deeply that the problem we have isn’t just guns (but maybe we could work on that), and it isn’t just parenting (and we could all be better parents, too) – it’s that we’re all trying to do this alone. And when we feel alone we destroy ourselves…and sometimes we destroy other people, too. It’s the most obvious on a day like today. When 17 families, and the hundreds of friends, acquaintances and snap chat followers are coming to grips with the fact that a person they new, loved, liked, disliked, whatever – is gone.
The mere act of living has always required courage. Perhaps it is more obviously courageous to walk into a school today – the day after such a horrible tragedy. But, for many of our kids (and let’s be honest, ourselves) it requires courage to go to school, work, church, the grocery store, or even get out of bed every day.
We all worry about fitting in, about being judged, about offending our friends with *another* long-winded post.
But we need each other. Yes, I’m talking to you, friends who are reminding me that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” And I’m talking to you, other friends who would prefer “policy and change” to “thoughts and prayers.” I think that we can say yes to all of those things. I’m not here to change your mind.
Today, I don’t want to ask more of anyone.
Parents: I know you’re doing the best you can.
Teachers: I know you’re doing the best you can, and I don’t think you’re supposed to be a security guard or a savior.
High School Students: I know you’re doing the best you can (and that you stopped reading a long time ago b/c TLDR)
I know that we all need each other. We need the people we disagree with. We need the people we don’t like. We need the people on the *other* side of all the issues. We need more hugs. More grace. Less pushing people out for being wrong. I just want you all to know that I’m sending you ALL love, hugs, thoughts, and prayers. And I’m supportive of whatever you need to do today (and tomorrow and the next day) to nourish your soul, love your family, and help and support the families who are hurting so deeply today.
If you’d like to do more than think and pray (but seriously, if you’re doing those things – do those things!):
Join Moms Demand Action and Everytown USA grassroots organizations working for common sense gun reform