I have felt bereft all weekend. I’ve tried to limit my access to news and find joy around me, but it hasn’t worked. Friday evening we shared shots of tequila with our studio mates, and that helped a little. Our theme for the impromptu gathering was “the world is f’d up.” Except we used the real word (which I am quite capable of using in real life, but for some reason can never write it.)
Saturday we went to a holiday party in a neighborhood famous for its over-the-top decorations and lights, and were entertained by Santa and the UC Davis Band-Uh (that’s what they’re called, Band-Uh) in the cul de sac. There were families everywhere, children dancing in the street, surrounded by everything magical, including the drums and tubas and the guy in the menorah hat. It was hard to watch them, really. Tutus and knitted monkey hats and pure joy. I kept thinking of the families who didn’t have this, who would never have it again. As our party was winding down, I engaged in a very civil conversation with someone (with whom I had been talking to all evening, about everything else we had in common) who may have seen the world the same as I do, but does it with many, many, many guns in his home (100, he said). He cared about protecting his family, he loved the sport of shooting, he was careful and trained and aware. He shared with me the gun laws of California (of which I was ignorant), and that was helpful. I appreciate the opportunity to have the conversation, though it was somewhat disturbing. His answer was “more guns, arm everyone and the world will be safer.” Sigh.
I am getting to the positive, I promise.
On Sunday we had two friends over for dinner. They are both cops, one of them is a role model of Alex’s and one of her favorite people on the planet. Our conversation with them was more comforting, but still left us with confusion. We talked more about the mental health issues, and how their jobs (and our lives) would be compromised if everyone had guns. We found plenty to agree on, including more wine and pumpkin cake.
Bereft. Confused. Sadder than I imagined I could be for something that happened on the other side of the country. On Sunday morning I read a powerful story, you may have seen it, from a mother of a mentally ill boy, and I found a whole new group of mothers to bring into my heart. Here it is, I encourage you to take a few moments to read it.
Yesterday I wrote to a friend, “I am so sad, I don’t know what to do.” And then something on Twitter (clearly, not being successful in staying away from the news) caught my eye. It was a suggestion from journalist Ann Curry for action. Not gun debate action, but loving action (though gun debate action could be the most loving thing we do for our children and our country). She suggests we honor the 26 victims of Sand Hook by committing to 26 acts of kindness.
I love this. I am going to do it. This morning I woke up excited to imagine how I could bring light and love into someone’s day, with intention and grace. How I might bring just a small moment of joy and wonder. I am committing. I hope you will think about it, too. It’s not the answer to all of this, but it’s a small answer for the moment, and we can practice it at least 26 times until we get it right. And who knows, maybe we will just keep going.