Something evil happened last week. I don’t need to tell you what it is. You know. You’ve seen the reports, and read the headlines and wept for strangers and clutched your children to your breast because of it.
This thing, this tragedy, maybe it’s entered your heart and your head. It’s entered mine. I have two children. Young children, school age children. Like probably all the parents reading, to keep my kids safe I would live, kill or die.
Right now, our kids need us to live. Presently, actively, and defiantly, we need to live with them and near them where they can witness the magnitude of life we have in us. In order to do this, we cannot be rendered incapacitated by horror and by the rerun of evil, a blue flickering against our pupils in an infinite loop.
We, all of us, must be active gatekeepers to our home and our head, and be terribly careful about what sordidity we allow to take up residence as houseguest. Do not read more. Do not watch more. You know enough. Tragedies are not rendered less tragic because we salivate over details. Sitting immobilized helps no one. Standing tall might. No matter how much you learn, you will never understand. You will never, ever understand. It is not yours to unlock the Pandora’s Box of why, it is yours to live strongly, now, for those you love.
Perhaps I am advocating ignorance. A cultivated, deliberate ignorance. What will lingering longer on this darkness serve, except to draw your own energy ever downward into the grey? It will not ease the grief and pain of parents and sisters and brothers and friends. It will not reweave the torn fabric of a family.
If you are compelled to action – political or humanitarian – take it. Grab your fiery muse and make your pain your bitch as you work for whatever change you feel might help. But do not allow talking heads to spoon feed you more death until the weight of that meat sits so leaden in your belly you can do little beyond clutch at your core and moan in the deep way of loss.
There are people right now who are praying desperately to God, asking him to please let them exchange places with their dead baby. Let it be me, let it be me, please let it be me instead. Their grief fills the world. They are alone and as untouchable, as rent and as numb in their despair as you would be. Your distant vigil of news cannot help them.
But you can turn your head up and toward the light. You can be the gatekeeper who refuses entry to the creeping fear. You can live joyfully now, when others cannot. And because you can, you must. Joyful, joyful like a child. It honors our dead to do so.