Since last week’s tragedy in Newtown, it's been harder to let the kids out of the house. The instinct is to keep them under lock and key, but every morning we have to open the door and let them go. To the movies, to the mall, to walk to the bus stop in the dark. Like many parents, I’m trying to wrap my head around this and figure out how it will impact my family. At this age, it is less about trying to shield them from the news. It’s mostly about answering questions like “Why don’t they want to say the killer’s name?” "Why did that mom have a gun?" “Would you ever get a gun?” "Did he know any of those kids?"
These are the darkest days of the year, and this year sad circumstances have accumulated around me to make the days seem even darker than usual. Long ago, the ancients thought the sun was leaving them, getting farther and farther away. Each year they feared that it would never return. It’s no coincidence that Christmas falls during the time when the ancients realized the sun was coming back. Winter Solstice - the day before the light starts to return. Right now we are waiting, lighting the Hannukah and Advent candles.
We spend so much time trying to teach our children that violence is wrong -- that loving each other is the reason we’re all here on this earth together. We want them to know that love is our highest purpose. That to feel it is a blessing, and to express it is a gift, not to be taken for granted. Yes, we can teach them to accept that some people have disabilities that make it hard to cultivate love, or express it. Acting out in anger is something we struggle with daily as a family. But it’s impossible to explain how someone could face a blackness as dark as what prompted last week’s horror.
Have you ever heard the saying that a broken heart is an open heart? Right now it feels like the country is joining hands, praying for the love in our hearts to pass from one hand to the next. I’m hopeful that those grieving find their way out of the darkness and are touched by returning light and love in the coming weeks.
Please visit The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence