I’m originally from Florida. The house where we lived before moving to Albuquerque was zoned for Stoneman Douglas High School. That’s where my kids would’ve gone to school if we still lived there. This school shooting hits close to home. I’m watching and mourning on social media as my former neighbors and friends and community reel from the latest tragedy.
Even the sky feels it. Albuquerque’s gone months without rain. But last night the heavens opened up and cried with us.
Sending my kids to school on days like today isn’t easy. I want to hunker down with them in my bedroom. All of us cuddled in my king sized bed . . . forever. But then that’s no way to live.
Why can’t we stop this? Why do we have to wait on pins and needles for the next tragedy, praying that it won’t be us?
It’s a complex issue. One law or one change can’t solve the problem of evil walking into our schools and killing our nation’s children. It’s going to be a compilation of people working together, saying, “This isn’t about me and my beliefs. This is an ‘we’ issue. This is a ‘together’ problem.”
How about we put our babies before our platforms? How about we literally stop sacrificing our children on the altar of our agendas?
Sometimes the issues feel so big, so weighty, that I get overwhelmed knowing that I can’t possibly solve such a complex problem alone. But this quotation from Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author, often comes to mind.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
So here are some things I’m going to do.
1. I’m going to act on my beliefs.
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve had convictions that I’ve never done anything about. I have not joined any groups. I have not given money to any organization that is working with mentally ill individuals. I’ve not written to my congressman or senators. I haven’t picked up the phone and called my legislators. It’s time for that to change.
2. I’m going to fight isolation off with a stick.
Doesn’t it seem like the perpetrator of these types of attacks is always a loner? It’s almost always someone on the outskirts of society. What if there weren’t any people on the outskirts of society? What if we all felt like we belonged? I’m sure this sounds like “pie in the sky” talk. But what if each of us just took in that one lonely neighbor or co-worker? Or what if we all volunteered at a school and prevented that one lonely kid from feeling abandoned by everyone?
If we all just did something, maybe that would take care of everything.
I don’t think it’s by accident that we launched our neighborhood groups today. This launch has been planned for months, and I almost re-scheduled the launch last night. But then I remembered that we are better together. And together-ness is part of the solution. So I let the groups launch to stand in the face of isolation and secrecy and darkness. Maybe just join a group today to shake your fist in the face of evil. Guess what, Darkness? You lose!
3. I’m going to talk to my kids.
I have older kids, but even if you have tinies, you’ll need to prepare your heart for conversations like these someday. We’ve talked about bullies and misfits and mental health and guns a lot. But I’m going to talk about them again. And then I’m going to do it again after that. I don’t want my kids to be silent. If they see something concerning, I want them to be the ones who speak up.