We had stopped at Bon Vie for a cup of Lobster Bisque in the middle of our Christmas Shopping. Monica was helping me stay focused; her shopping was done. I read her the remaining items on Chase’s list: khakis, cross-trainers, Eric Church tickets, World Peace.
“What’s that?” she said.
“What’s World Peace?”
“I thought it was like a new brand-name,” she said
“Nope. Same thing it’s always been.”
After lunch, I was checking a text message while journeying through shoe paradise that is DSW, when we heard about the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. We whispered what we could read as she put her face near mine and peered at my upside down phone.
“An el-em-en-ta-ry school…”
We embraced and cried…and wrapped up our shopping. I needed to get to my church; her children would soon be home from school.
Today, as a pastor, as a mother, as a human being living in United States, Planet Earth, I feel compelled to try to add my voice to the discussion that begins (or maybe continues) with ever-increasing passion: What do we DO?
But I’m still a bit mute. As a grief-counselor and comforter, I tell myself it is too early.
And yet, a matter-of-fact voice within me responds: it is also too late.
I feel like I let those children down because I did not act soon enough.
I did not push to understand both sides of the Gun Control debate, to weigh in, to stand up and be counted. To make my vote count. I allowed my passion for justice to be curbed by not wanting to make waves.
I did not participate in the opportunity that churches have to raise awareness of mental illness through an annual candlelight vigil and speaking to it more in my sermons and becoming as knowledgeable as possible about resources to help those in need.
I did not push the issue of why some schools near me continue to have easy access to many doors with long, unpoliced hallways.
I did not ACT.
What do we do? I think we begin by looking in the mirror and accepting that the only way we are going to stop hearing news like the massacre that took place in Newtown, CT, is to face the hard truth: if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
Yesterday morning, while looking in one of my favorite boutiques, I almost bought a small pin, about the size of a nickel. It read: no one is someone else’s child.
Today I wish I had. That needs to become something I remember every single day. Becoming part of the solution needs to become part of the reason I am here.
My hope is that together we can create a tomorrow in which our grandchildren will be able to say, “a long time ago, kids were afraid to go to school because bad guys came in with guns…but my grandma and grandpa helped fix that.”