Saturday, December 15, 2012

Life is Precious

I cried a lot today. Life is so precious.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were at a mall in Merrillville, Indiana with Henry. As we were walking through JC Penney a group of people came barreling around a corner. Holding hands and running they were screaming "Someone is shooting, he has a gun."

We froze for a moment. I was looking around for a place to hide. Mark was thinking of running back into the mall to see if he could help. I kept thinking to myself "Please don't let me see blood, please don't let me see blood." Because blood would mean something bad. Really bad.

We joined the masses in a panicked exit. Fortunately the situation turned out alright. A man fired a single gunshot into the air. Who knows why, but no one was hurt.

But in that moment, with someone screaming about a man with a gun, in a crowded mall, with my son in a stroller in front of me, I didn't know if it would be okay. Suddenly everything seemed unreal. It wasn't until we were safely in our car that I realized how terrified I was, and how much adrenaline was pumping through me.

Back in February of this year we were living in Chardon, Ohio when a 17-year old boy open-fired in the local high school's cafeteria killing three students and injuring two. We were part of a community in shock, in mourning. For days after the shooting there were helicopters, media vans, press conference and people crying. Everywhere, for weeks. I remember going to the grocery store and seeing people in tears. And hugging. Everyone was hugging.

These are my experiences.

And then I read on my Facebook news feed this morning about a developing story about a shooting at a school in Connecticut. There was another one last week at a mall. A month ago at a movie theatre. We've heard all the stories.

And as you know, this developing story turned into 28 people dead. 18 CHILDREN. They are saying kindergartners. Kindergartners. What kind of monster can point a gun at a child and pull the trigger? And then do it again 19 more times?

What is happening?

So many parents tonight don't get to hug their children. There are presents under trees that will go unopened. And so many surviving children witnessed something that no child should ever be exposed to.

It's hard to think about this tragedy. It makes my heart hurt and my stomach churn. I usually don't blog about things like this. And I don't even know where I'm going with this post, but I just needed to say something.

Brittany Gibbons posted this quote today on Facebook. I think it's fitting.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." -- Mister Rogers

I believe we do see great people in the face of tragedy: heroes, helpers and huggers. But I wish we saw these sides of people every single day. Maybe if we were helpers every moment of every day, things like this wouldn't happen. I'm not saying a smile at this monster would have changed things. But maybe a smile, and someone to talk to, over the course of his life would have made a difference.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


1 comment:

  1. You so eloquently typed what I wanted thoughts just don't come out as clearly as yours. I hope you don't mind if I post on my blog and link to your post. Gut wrenching, awful, sad...