I haven't been writing much lately.
I'm not sure what to chalk it up to. I suppose any old excuse will do. Busyness of the season. Exhaustion from mothering three little ones. Or maybe, a need to take a step away so as to assess where I am.
The morning of Friday, December 14th, 2012 was definitively a wake-up call.
I woke up extremely exhausted. Our youngest daughter, Claire was to celebrate her second birthday, but unfortunately, she'd been up most of the night throwing up. She was the last of the brood to take on the stomach flu.
I was preparing to get my "game face" on as I went in to teach a Conflict Resolution training to thirty plus not-for-profit members of the community. Meanwhile, my husband was juggling morning appointments so that he could be home with our sick little one while also getting the older two to school.
As everyone got situated, I asked participants to share their names, agency affiliation, and their personal contribution toward world peace. I introduced myself as the CEO of my household and told them that my contribution was personal timeouts from my children, so as not to commit acts of violence during times of extreme frustration and lack of patience. Everyone laughed and then one by one, individuals gave profoundly important answers to the icebreaker question.
Feeling good about the training, I drove home and checked Facebook.
Very quickly I learned that there was a horrible school shooting in a small town in Connecticut called Newtown and that they didn't know how many children had been murdered or staff members. I thought I would vomit. And then, I quickly called home. Were my children okay? My God, how could this happen again?
In the days that followed where we learned more details about how many children and adults were massacred, it all became so heart breaking that I found myself filled with more sadness than anything.
Simultaneously, I watched friends on Facebook decimate each other with their opinions about gun control, gun rights, mental illness, school security, and a barrage of other topics semi-related to the shootings. It reminded me all over again of the political commentary revolving around the elections.
In this season and spirit of the holidays, I am reminded that we are all in need of greater tolerance, grace, and love. None of us has the answers. We can universally agree that to lose someone we love with all our heart is beyond imaginable.
My prayer in the new year is that we draw closer together...that the lives that were tragically lost in Newtown serve to help us to cling tighter and not to divide. We need one another. We do better when we are connected. We are all valuable individually and collectively.
And so I am reminded of Mother Teresa's words:
"If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Amen.