I had a blog post in mind for today, one that has been incubating since the middle of last week, as is usually my practice. But it can wait. After the Friday massacre of so many innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., it seems self-serving to write about what’s going on in my own little corner of the world.
Since last Friday, as more details have emerged about the shooter and his victims, about the heroism of those who sacrificed their lives trying to save more children, about how many rounds of ammo the shooter had in his cache, about how many more might have been killed if the police hadn’t arrived when they did, I have been struggling, like so many, to grasp fully what happened.
One morning you send your first grader off to school, and then. Gone. Murdered. No, slaughtered with a semiautomatic. Along with dozens of classmates, teachers. The images don’t go together. The pain is too great, too hard, even from a distance. My heart hurts. My prayers of comfort go to all of those who lost loved ones. But that seems inadequate, even still.
As President Obama spoke to the Newtown community Sunday night, you could hear a baby cooing somewhere in the audience. No one shushed it. Perhaps that was the most profound response to the nightmare.
Even in the midst of such tragedy, we are resilient. The will to live and heal and flourish, despite overwhelming loss and pain, is powerful, thank God. More powerful than the will to destroy.
And yet. As the days go on, as we return to our routines, will we maintain the focus and fortitude to ensure that our schools and malls and movie theatres are safe places for our children? Safe for all of us, regardless of social class, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, physical disability, health challenges, whatever sets us apart?
President Obama issued a challenge. We need to change. The time is now. Yes.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.