I’m sad. My heart is heavy. Literally a cement block taking up space in my chest. It hurts. Two bottles of wine later (one white, one red) has not helped. All of the posts on Facebook, all of the news updates, it’s all so overwhelming.
I played Christmas music today. Not holiday music. Christmas music. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, so be it. I don’t judge you. I’m not offended by whatever you celebrate, be it Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Ramadan…I’m not saying “Happy Holidays” anymore, I’m saying “Merry Christmas.” Don’t be offended by me.
More deep breaths. A few sniffles. A tear clings to the corner of my left eye before I smudge it away.
I baked today. For the first time in a long time. Before I heard the news about the shooting in Connecticut. My brother lives in Connecticut. My nephew is five years old. I have friends in Connecticut who have children in elementary school. I was relieved when I found out the name of the town, because I knew that none of my family or friends had been touched in the most personal way by the horrific happenings the news was reporting on.
I didn’t allow myself to cry today. I didn’t feel I had the right. I have no children. Of my own. My boyfriend has children, and I love them. I would be heart-broken if anything happened to them. But it’s not the same as having your own child torn from your grasp. I can’t imagine the pain those parents must be feeling at this moment. Selfishly, I was thankful that I probably won’t ever know that feeling.
Shallow breaths, now. Tears streaming down.
I saw people say their faith in God was shaken today. People are angry. Unsure. They don’t understand. It doesn’t make sense. Injustice. Why children? Why anyone? Why does it seem we are destined to wipe each other out? Is there truth to the Mayan belief that the world will end this year?
Swipe at my nose with my sleeve. Tears have stopped for now, but I can feel the lump in my throat telling me they aren’t gone for good.
The world as we know it ended a long time ago. Every generation experiences this. Some of us, like me, are too stubborn to acknowledge that our world has changed beyond recognition. Some things we adapt to and accept. Others we can’t fathom. IDK, LOL, LMAO…I still spell most things out, even when I’m texting. I grew up playing outside until the streetlights came on. We didn’t fear our neighborhoods, our playgrounds or our schools. We had bullies, but not to the extent that bullying exists today. An older girl tried to run me over with her car once. I didn’t bring a gun to school. I didn’t do anything. My parents raised me to respect myself. They raised me to not put stock in other people’s opinions. If someone doesn’t like me, it’s their loss, not mine.
Back to deep breaths.
Something has gone horribly wrong with our world. I’m no expert. And maybe my opinion doesn’t even matter. I don’t know if it’s in our parenting, our school systems, our government or our faith. Too may people don’t respect life, don’t respect other’s right to live, don’t respect creativity, innovation, reality. Too many children grow up not respecting these same things. It’s exponential. It needs to start at home. Respect. Respect of self. Respect of others.
If there is no home, it needs to start somewhere.
It only takes one person, one light in a child’s life to get them started on the right path, a better path. It only takes one defining moment to make a positive impact in a child’s life. Conversely, it only takes one defining moment to make a negative impact in a child’s life. Make a choice. Be a positive influence. Children emulate the adults they trust. Check yourself. Make sure you aren’t contributing to the lack of respect that is being learned by the next generation. Help form the world you want to live in, the world you want to leave as a legacy. You don’t like the world as you see it? Stop pointing fingers, and take responsibility. Make changes.
It starts with you.
It starts with me.