What do you do when the world seems full of darkness? Fill it with light. I had the talk with my kids today – the “bad people exist and there’s nothing we can do about them but there’s something we can do about us” talk.
I’d say it went well. I was the only one who cried and no one vomited and they’re currently asleep safe in their beds, hopefully with dreams of sugarplums in their little noggins. I wanted them to hear about Connecticut from me, not from their friends at school.
Today’s massacre makes me sad and sick and steers me toward hopeless. But after getting advice from my wise sister, I told my kids what I needed to hear. We cannot change other people. We can love them. We can pray for them. But we cannot control their decisions. We can only control our own.
So for every crazy, merciless, mentally ill terrorist who destroys life, and light, and innocence in this world, for every act of darkness, I need to do a thousand acts of light. The only way we win is by living better, by pushing back harder, by loving, and by nurturing in tiny and slightly less tiny ways and then repeating. Darkness only wins when the good people of the world stop generating light.
We will never do that.
For every bully who tears someone down, I will build up 10 people. For every guy that cuts someone off in traffic, I will let three people go ahead of me. For every senseless act of violence, I will perpetrate enough acts of love and beauty to help me start to forget the sharp pang of first hearing about it. The ache will never fully go away. But that’s okay. The ache is a reminder of how much work there is for me to do.
If I am part of the light, I need to commit every day to shine brighter, to love stronger. We can never. Ever. Give up. We can never let Sandy Hook be the world we live in. It’s not even an option.