My heart is broken...
Yet another school shooting...
Today... this day... (2/14/18)... this day of love, romance...
This day of yet another horrific story of public tragedy, broken minds, broken bodies, and broken hearts.
The word HELP screams out in my head...
Who will help us?
How can we help others?
Who will help those who remain, after so much grief cuts into their day suddenly... unexpectedly?
Who will help those who stepped out to help, and now that the immediate craziness has passed; are left with flashing images that keep them up all night... for many nights?
After such senseless pain... “help” stomps around in frantic circles, with its arms held up in the air, like a desperate, unanswered question.
However, this post won’t be morose or negative...
quite the opposite.
Hope... Hope continues on... in the face of so much hurt...
Just plain, hurt.
There’s no imagining hurt away; no living in denial. There’s also no ability to hide under a rock, and allow the world to spin without us... we’re here, on this planet together.
Our children need us to teach them how to love, and forgive, and keep trying; and how to not let fear stop them ... even when it seems as if they should.
Parents... parents just like us, need other parents to support, and comfort, and befriend, and cook for them when they are in so much pain they can’t move... because that is a real thing... pain that’s so deep we can’t move.
Teachers need help, just to go back into their place of work... that’s become a war zone.
My son is a teacher... He’s also a student in grad school. Im sure he sees these devastating school massacres from all sides:
As a teacher he must be aware; must be alert; must support, yet not befriend; must remain neutral, yet passionate.
As a student he must be aware; must be alert; must be supportive, while yet needing so much support; must befriend, yet remain professionally distant; and must be passionate with a level of realism.
As a parent of a teacher/student... I must offer the help I can:
- A genuine listening ear; hearing not just things said, but actively listening in all areas of conversation.
- A prayerful heart... a heart that extends itself in the midst of a chaotic schedule... without frustration.
- Plenty of hugs and encouragement.
My son joyfully still finds the ability to help others, in spite of his hectic workload. I believe my son has learned the key to life... the more we give of ourselves, the more we are filled.
Teaching is, by definition, giving to receive back. Bestowing knowledge, to facilitate change, because learning is change... this propagates the help cycle. Once learning is received, and change has occurred... the give back process begins. Thankfully, as a society, I feel we are learning... ARE changing.
Help has a wonderful way of self renewing. Though I think, like any other “thing”, I can fall into the pit of “if a little is good, then more is better.”. I have to use care to help others, while focusing on self nurturing balance... if I don’t first help myself... I am of no use to anyone else!
2018 is filled with: self help books and seminars; meditational apps; DIY channels; support groups and chat rooms; advocacy groups; missions; community coalitions; even Google AssistTM (which, by the way, is fantastic!), yet, we have one of the highest societal rates of anxiety/depression ever recorded in history.
So... from whence then comes our true help? I have to seek a deeper filling than satisfying relationships, accruing goods and services, or pouring out philanthropy.
The answer is so very simple, really; yet offensive to so many. For me, prayer to, and meditation on a Being much more complete than I could ever hope to be; (yet brings me to a place of full completion in Him) is my true source of hope... For me... Jesus. For others, I’m sure, someone or something else.
This is a reality so strong for me, that if I attempt to write about Hope without mention of this truth, it falls into a flat, impotent pile. Placing hope in man, or a system, or things, or even myself will always fall short!
I need to take walks, or some days, even just sit outside. I need music, and art. I need to create! I need to give myself permission to sit quietly, and simply refill. I need to plan a vision board, or journal... to see where I want to go next... and then allow myself to physically/spiritually see me there! I need to laugh! Sometimes, I need to cry. I need to give myself time to heal, and recover on days I am not strong.
These are hard days... Yes, we need each other; we must walk in love, and concern, and mutual respect for each other! Isolation is so damaging; help is so crucial!
But, to receive help, we must first admit we need it. To admit need, sometimes feels like a fail... But is it? We must bear one another’s burdens! In order to do that, we must first make ourselves vulnerable... to quote a wise friend who recently said “ We must show our underbelly first.” (Thanks Matt!) We are unable to bear burdens, if burdens are not made known. No one will make their burdens clear to us if they feel we are so completely put together, we can’t identify... no one wants to be judged.
Unless we choose to willfully break that cycle... starting within ourselves!
What joy to turn to someone, and ask “will you please help me?” This releases a purpose in their life! This releases connection in my life! This allows me to know, I do not have to do it all alone!
In addition to turning to someone else... let me also turn inward, and celebrate the beauty, potential, and ability already placed there for me, by God, as well.
Let me examine what I uniquely have to offer... that no one else can give!
I have a friend who is an RN, and worked as an ER nurse. She was working as the recording nurse during the code of a 21 year old young man who was rapidly losing his life to a stab wound he received during a drug related assault. She had no physical or visual contact with this patient as the code team worked on his body. Her job was to record code details, and gather information. While searching through his wallet for Identification during the code, which was simultaneously being called as unsuccessful, she found his license... only to discover it was her own son lying on the stretcher... now lifeless... broken beyond repair.
Pain unimaginable... forgiveness, on her own, humanly impossible.
She later became a pastor’s wife, and uses her incredibly painful story as a testimony to forgiveness and healing. She has written a book about her journey through this nightmare... I highly recommend it! Her’s is a life changing story of hope in the midst of great darkness. TheGreater Weight of Glory... Amazon!
I mention this woman because I deeply love her! She has walked and prayed with me through several of my life’s more painful moments.
I have learned from her life’s testimony. She has made right choices, that have, in turn, helped me make right choices... and impacted my children , and theirs... and so on...
She chose to help.
She has helped me. She has been painfully equipped to help me. Without God’s help, she could never have even gotten out of bed... much less offered help to me.
I also choose to help... I choose to be a fierce female archetype: not afraid to love gently, and carry a big stick when it comes to teaching others to self nurture, self protect, self advocate... or to do all these same things to and towards those who are not in their own place of strength to do so for them self.
Back to our beautiful Youngs...who, in these days, have so much more to grieve, or fear than I ever did in my teens.
How can I help? How can I extend hope to precious people who may feel hopeless?
By simply being...
By not turning a blind eye, or jaded deaf ear. By being present...
By not comparing their issues to “back in my day”; because nothing like this ever happened “back in my day”.
By hugging, understanding, acknowledging, offering ideas for solution...
By admitting we’re all not sure what to do, but something must be done... and we will do it.
By taking action... not simply talking about action.
By turning these painful situations to the the only hope we have... the Power so much greater than we... for me, God.
By ensuring my own heart is pure, and filled with earnest care and compassion. By doing this, I can assure youth that all the world is not a hateful place... I can assure myself of this as well.
I hear you students... I hear you parents... I hear you teachers/paramedics/Law Enforcement/Doctors/Nurses...I hear you parents of Assailants... your pain is real, and deep too.
I hear all others... community members, Clergy, support counselors.
My heart of love goes out to each precious one of you. While I do not know the depth of your pain... I cry with you. I am sorry this happened to all of you... that it happens for all of us, in a much larger sense.
Pain is so very real... Yet Hope does not; cannot; will not die in the face of it.
We must take another breath, and again reach out in help, and offer hope to one another.
Warm energies of healing,
Hope, and forgiveness
Offered out to any and all in pain.