*Taken from my journal last week.
Today was a hard day. I can’t stop crying. I don’t have children, but still. What happened in Newtown hurt me to the core. Not sure exactly why. I don’t think you have to have children to get it. All the newscasters keep saying, “If you have children…” What? I have my God-daughter who I adore with all my heart…and that’s enough. My neighbors and friends have kids. That’s enough. I’m a human being. That’s enough to understand, to “get it”. I feel it just as much as anyone else.
And maybe that’s exactly why I’m crying so much. Those are my children. My neighbors and friends kids are my kids. How did we lose our way? How did we forget that my neighbor is my brother, my sister, part of my human family? How far away from each other have we gotten that we don’t even know our neighbors last name or the last time we saw them come home? When did we lose touch with each other?
That child, that killer – how did we let him grow up to DO that? Yes, I take responsibility. We don’t care about each other any-more. We only care about what is “ours”. And we only care about others when tragedy unfolds. We’ve become so selfish, so self-absorbed we don’t care till someone hurts us or harms someone we love. And then all we do is blame. We blame everyone else but ourselves. The media, the healthcare system, guns. And then the media, medical profession and the NRA blames everyone else. The media says they’re just “reporting the news” or “it’s just entertainment”, the medical profession claims it has “no funding” and the NRA says, “guns don’t kill people…”.
Lord have mercy on all of us. So much finger-pointing, so little self-reflection.
I always tell people we need to do better when we know better – but the truth is I can do better. I can tell people all I want to do better, but I can only change myself. I can be a better steward of my fellow human beings and not just when things are tough, but when things are okay too. I need to reach out and love my neighbor. I need to stop complaining about what’s wrong and do something about it. And I’m not exactly sure how to do it, but it might start with sending a letter to my Senator and my Representatives and telling them exactly how I feel. Maybe knocking on my next door neighbor’s door and introducing myself might be a good start? I don’t know. But something’s gotta give, because what we’ve been doing, isn’t working. Something has to change.
Now, I’m not looking for a “kumbaya” moment or anything, I’m just saying we have fallen so far apart where being social means jumping online and exchanging a few sentences or comments on Facebook. And look, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it isolates us. It hinders us from actually being involved in people’s lives. We send a quick text “Happy Birthday” and we’re done with that celebration. I’m sure I’ll get more than a few “Merry Christmas” text next week…it’s just the way we do things now. There’s no longer a need to be involved because we’ve found shortcuts to get so many more things done now with technology, you know, because we’re all so “busy”.
No one and I mean NO ONE, is THAT busy. Unless you’re looking for a cure to Cancer, or fighting in a WAR or doing something of that magnitude, you my friend are not that muther-fucking busy. I don’t know anyone in my own life who is THAT busy (though all of us claim to be!).
We find so many excuses for NOT doing the right thing, instead of finding all the reason to DO the right thing, the hard thing, the good thing, the quality thing. And the catch phrase we’ve become comfortable with is: “I’m busy”. The underlying message is clear: you’re not a priority. You don’t matter to me.
Clearly, we were all too busy for the killer in Newtown Connecticut. No one noticed his pain or his craziness or whatever it was because we didn’t notice him at all. We can blame his mother or father or teachers or doctors – so much easier to do than to blame ourselves, right? But the truth is I’m also to blame for not doing more to know my neighbors, to care for someone outside my own little “busy” world – to reach out and be there for someone who may need me. Who may just need my acknowledgement that they exist. That they matter.
And this is why I can’t stop crying. Because I lost 20 gorgeous little kids today. I lost 6 beautiful adults who had to sacrifice themselves to save others. I keep tearing because down deep inside I know, I can do better than this. I know I can do my part to make this world a better place…and I didn’t. Because I’ve been too busy. Too self-absorbed, too selfish with my own little life.
I am so sorry Newtown. I take responsibility Newtown. And although it will not bring back our loved ones, I will do better. I promise.
Today, I’m making some changes:
- I’m going to call my neighbor and touch base again with him and his family. I’m going to reach out to some other neighbors I don’t know. Luckily, it’s the holiday season, so it’s an easier way to say HELLO.
- I’m going to write my two Senator and my Congressman and make known my issues regarding this tragedy as well as send a letter to the NRA voicing my opinion.
- As far as movies/TV and video games are concerned, I’m not a fan of that genre in general so I’ve never watched anything so gruesome or bought anything so deranged, but I will go through my “collection” (if you can call it that) and see if there’s anything in there that may be watched accidentally by my little four-year old darling God-Daughter and put it out of reach. My problem with banning movies and TV is that I do consider them ART (at least the ones I buy and own) – and although I do think there’s a freedom to an artist expressing themselves, I also think there’s a responsibility that goes along with it. The artist himself has to deal with the consequences of his art, and the consumer of that “ART” needs to be smart about what it takes in. So, I can put the parental locks on my TV and my computer and not buy toys/games that promote…oh, for the lack of a better word: stupid dumb-ass crap.
That’s a start. Somehow I feel a little better. Still tearing, but at least now I have a plan. Something to work on. Hopefully, that will help me start to change things. I can’t change the world today, but I can certainly change me.
Links of interest:
To find your Representative in the House: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
To contact the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
To contact the NRA (The National Rifle Association): https://contact.nra.org/
To search people/studios in the Entertainment industry: www.imdb.com
To contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/
To contact your Neighbor: Step outside.
To change the world: Look in a mirror. Take responsibility. And Love.
Such a major conversation about guns. Truth is, we also need to be having a conversation about MENTAL HEALTH. About how we talk to each other, about how we deal with anger. Even how people talk to each other on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. – – its disturbing. Yes, have your arguments about guns. But haven’t we already been here before? Do me a favor: sit down with your kids, your family, your friends and talk. Yeah, just talk. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS. Communication matters. We need to step up. We need be smarter. Better than we used to be… please, let’s be better than we used to be…
Much love and peace to my neighbors and friends in Connecticut.