Saturday, December 15, 2012 so brave a world.

"And the world will still be imperfect, because men are imperfect. Good men will still be killed by bad, or sometimes by other good men, and there will still be pain and disease and famine, anger and hate. But if you work and care and are watchful, as we have tried to be for you, then in the long run the worse will never, ever, triumph over the better. And the gifts put into some men, that shine as brightly as Eirias the sword, shall light the dark corners of life for all the rest, in so brave a world."
                                                                                   Susan Cooper, SILVER

....The above passage was sent to me last summer by a friend who knew what a traumatic few months my family had been going through. She knew that we all felt that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I put it on my bulletin board, and reread it many times over the last few months. It just seemed appropriate to include it here, today....

I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes and wondered why. Then I remembered the horrific events of yesterday, and knew why I cried in my sleep. All Americans cried yesterday, and most are still crying today as more and more of the details of the slaughter of twenty innocent children and six adults come to light.

I'm a teacher. I've been a teacher for most of my life, teaching in a variety of situations: horseback riding, painting, Sociology and Statistics, and the History of Musical Theatre. Yet today I ask myself, if I were a teacher at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, would I have been one of those heros, one of the teachers who gave their lives to save their students? I can only hope I would have been that brave.

How are you feeling today? Me...I've been pacing, I can't focus on doing anything, like beginning my holiday baking that I promised myself I would start today. I feel angry, I want to cry...and I do cry for no reason, but yet, I know there is a reason. I just can't put it into words that do the emotion justice. Anger, sorrow, hatred of someone unknown to me, grief...what else can I feel? Where is the happiness, the wonderful spirit of the holidays, the joyousness of looking forward to Christmas? Well, it's gone. Vanished. And I don't know if it will come back any time soon. Is it just me? No, I don't think so.

Some will say, okay, you must put it behind you and move on. You can't spoil Christmas for everyone else. But you see, I am not the one spoiling Christmas. Nor do I think that "everyone else" feels differently from me. How do you put such a horrific crime behind you and move on, as though nothing tragic has happened? I don't think you do. I think this crime will linger in all our minds and memories for months, if not years, to come. I think every time we bring it to our consciousness, we will feel the same sorrow, the same anger, that we all feel now. I think we will still come to tears when we think of those twenty small children who were massacred, and the six adults who gave their lives trying to save the children and fight off the gunman.

We may not be able to put it behind us and move on in the way some would like us to. But we must learn how to heal ourselves, to find and to spread the light we each carry within us to light up all the dark corners of our world. In so doing, we will heal the wounds inside our hearts and minds that this madman and his vicious crime have put there. Do I speak only for myself? I don't think so. I hope it is not so.

Do what you have to do, whether it's to laugh or to cry, to pray in a quiet corner, to reach out and hug your wife or husband or children or other family members, to take a quiet walk all by yourself...or even, to sit down and write something. Anything. Do what you need to do for yourself, and in doing that, whatever it is, you will find that quiet light burning inside, and you will be one of those who will light up the shadows and conquer the dark. 

For we, too, live in so brave a world.

Until next time,
That's a wrap.