100 Words - Soft Heart, Strong Back

100 Words ChallengeI picked up my computer hours ago to sit down and write this week's post, and I couldn't do it. No words were coming.

Instead, I found myself re-reading this blog post, and all the comments - the supportive, and the horribly judgmental. And then this condemnatory post by another mother, and her two back-pedaling posts (at least there's that), and again all the comments.

Then I read posts on Facebook about the Sandy Hook shootings, watched videos from various politicians and talking heads - some making abrupt and conscious about-faces in their thinking on various policies (gun control, free speech, mental illness, health care), and others clearly gearing up to fight the same, old, tired, useless battles.

I couldn't sit down and write this post, because all that wanted to come out is how mother-effing heartbroken I am. Not just for the children and adults who lost their lives. Not just for the young man who was so broken inside that he felt the need, or perhaps a demented sense of justification, to enact such a vicious attack on children, children in their SCHOOL. Not just for the parents who will never know life without grief again. Not just for the community, or all of us who have been shaken to the core.

I am also heartbroken that in our need to make sense of things, to find our footing, we so often choose division, and sides, and anger, and finger pointing, and posturing, and witty memes, and bluster instead of being able to sit with this discomfort long enough - the sadness, the grief, the terror, the fear - so that wisdom might naturally arise out of our collective pain. Something sane and measured and kind.

Because folks? This isn't about violent movies or video games, this isn't about guns or bad parenting, this isn't about a broken mental healthcare system, or evil people. It is all of those things and none of those things. It is something deeper, more fundamental, and we have to do the work to dig down to the roots, and we must have patience as we do so. We must be kind and thoughtful in our dialogue. And by kind, I do not mean yielding where we know in our hearts we must not yield. One can keep the heart soft while maintaining a strong back, and that is our responsibility as human beings.

I would apologize for hijacking this post, but I would dishonor myself by not letting out what wants to come out today. And I must ask you to keep your comments to expressions of grief and sympathy because I'm not of a mind to tolerate a debate over this or that issue in my comment section. Not today.

Yes, you still get a word of course. I don't think we need to make it about this topic...even if I couldn't bring myself to ignore it in the post. I found that Charles Dickens Christmas Book after all, so I'll give you a word from that.

Countenance