In recent years, from weather to weapons, violence and sickness, life has gotten pretty intense. Just in the last month, two of our CT Universities went into lock down over a potential shooter and the Philippines was devastated by a typhoon. And, in the last year, Newtown happened followed by Boston, tornados, and shootings at a mall and airport to name a few. For each of these tragedies that gain national attention there are numerous stories of interpersonal violence and illness that occur each and every day.
In all of this chaos, we are raising our children. I’ve asked myself if the intensity we are experiencing is similar to what our parents or our parent’s parents experienced. I’m unsure. But I’m also unsure if that really matters anyway. I guess what does matter is how we are handling what we’re being dealt and how our responses impact and shape our children and each other.
On Saturday, I was grocery shopping with the kids like I do almost every weekend. As we turned the last corner near the milk my 4 year old son asked why the store had a phone (there was a phone hanging on the wall) and what it was for. I told him it was for the people who work there to call up front if they had questions or needed assistance. My son, to my surprise, said, “like if there was an emergency”. I enthusiastically replied yes, excited that he understood my explanation enough to elaborate on it. But then he said something horrifying to me, “like if someone had a gun”.
My reaction wasn’t the best. As I just mentioned, I was pretty horrified. I couldn’t believe that came out of his mouth. And then I was instantly mad at myself for my reaction because of course I knew how that could come out of his mouth…it’s the reality he lives in. After gasping, I was able to tell him that certainly that could be a reason to use the phone but that I hoped it wouldn’t happen because it would be terrible.
I suppose part of what makes things so intense lately is just how much there is to lose. Amidst all of the chaos, the everyday is so great and to think that it could be taken away so abruptly elevates the intensity of it all. As we approach the one year anniversary of the shootings at Newtown I, like many, can remember exactly where I was that day and the hours that proceeded and can still feel the immense grief and sorrow. But, the year anniversary also reminds me of the families in Newtown and their commitment to choose love.
When all is said and done, there is little I can do individually to prevent someone from committing a horrible act of violence and absolutely nothing I can do to stop another horrific storm. I can however continue to live from a place of love and I hope that in so doing my children–all of our children–grow up seeing the good in the world.