December 14, 2012

How Can I Believe in Basic Human Goodness?

I don’t know what to say right now.

I don’t know how to make sense of this.

Earlier today, a man came into an elementary school not far from me and killed 27 people. He killed 20 children. And I’m sitting here wondering what the fuck to tell my first and third grader. And I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is more carnage than our state is equipped to handle. And I wish I could cry, but I’m just too… I just can’t yet. I’m stunned.

I believe in basic human goodness. I believe that all people are basically good, and that because we are in pain or angry or have mental illness, sometimes we are capable of horrible acts.

But then I look at the news and think, “How can I believe this man was basically good?”

How can I believe that this world is a good, safe place to be?

But I do.

I believe it because of all of the calls and texts I got from out of state friends wanting to know if we are okay. I believe it because of the immediate outpouring of neighboring states to help the Newtown community. I believe it because that is my anchor. I believe it because it is true.

I believe that anyone who could do what Adam Lanza did today is in the darkest place a person could be, and more than anything else, I feel compassion for him. The immense pain and hatred that must be in a heart that could gun down elementary school classrooms is more pain than I can possible imagine.

So what do we do when there is nothing we can do? How do we make sense of this? How do we make the horror go away?

We don’t.

We meditate and pray.

We love each other.

We let the pain stay, because that is how we have compassion when it happens to someone else, someplace else.

We sit with our shock, our fear, our horror, our sorrow and look at it. We let it be transformed. We let it deepen our compassion.

To the families who lost children and loved ones today, I sit for you. I’ll sit with this. And cry. And hug my children. And figure out a way to tell them that there was a man who was so sad and angry, that he hurt some people in a school nearby.

To the family of Adam Lanza, I wish you love, deep love that fills you and comforts you. While I cannot imagine losing my child in a shooting, the idea of losing a child because he has inflicted so much pain on others is unfathomable. I will sit for you. I will sit for this and hope you may find peace.

To Adam Lanza, I hope your soul is at peace. I will sit for you. I’ll sit and look at every moment of anger and hatred I’ve had in my life, and know that it was a drop in the bucket of what was going on inside you.

To you, to whoever reads this, thank you. Thank you for taking two minutes to think about something we don’t want to think about. This is how we bring light to each other. This is how we get through. We don’t look away; we look closer. We don’t shut it out; we let it in. We sit with it. We breathe. We feel our raw and tender hearts break open, so that we can let love and compassion pour out.

Thank you.

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