What is to give light must endure burning — Viktor Frankl
The title of this post is something Abraham Lincoln said. He was talking to political radicals who accused him of having the “slows” on slavery, assuring him it was the will of the people that he move more quickly to abolish it. The new Spielberg film has more about all that. I hope you go see it, if you haven’t already.
Today I was going to publish the second part of Napman, a post I started last week, but it will keep. I can’t stop thinking about the slow holocaust we seem to be undergoing. This occurs more or less every time something hideous and unbearable happens, but what transpired at Sandy Hook last week was too hard.
Lincoln said that a lot, it being too hard.
He usually said it on getting news that ten or twenty thousand more young men had just been slaughtered in a war that he, Lincoln, could have walked us away from. That he didn’t walk away was because of his belief that something singular in the experiment this country was living out was worth its terrible price.
In moments like last week’s, when it seems the experiment is coming apart at the edges, it helps me to remember that there once was a Lincoln, and that he was made here.
I was reading about the demographic changes that helped elect President Obama—a black man who believes that in a civilized society, adequate health care is a basic right. This tells me that despite the increasing despair around us, a majority of sane and compassionate adults exists. It’s possible for such a majority who find their voices to demand that their government implement sane and compassionate policies.
It’s possible, for example, to say no to the gun-manufacturing lobby. It’s possible to have more effective laws. There are enough people who believe that their right to own an assault weapon is not worth the lives of small children.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
— William Stafford
WHAT I’M GOING TO DO
The sun came up this morning, strange to say.
What to do?
I ask myself this question every day when the sun comes up. Most days I have no good answer. Better regulation of gun ownership is a no brainer, but there are other deep problems in this country. There are thousands of young people, especially young men, who for myriad reasons are growing up without a voice, confused, disturbed, angry.
I love Jesus, who said to us:
Heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth have passed away,
my word will remain.
What was your word, Jesus?
Love? Forgiveness? Affection?
All your words were one word:
— Antonio Machado
Writing about the end of slavery, Lincoln said, “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.”
The thing I have control over, sometimes, is myself. What I’m going to do is try to listen better to my kid, especially when I feel like swatting him for irritating me with his un-reasonability. Oh, his un-reasonability.
I’m going to keep listening. I’m going to try to keep my heart open. I’m going to look for opportunities to give sanity a voice.
For starters, I’m going to write to the President and to my congressman and tell them how I feel.
YOU MIGHT FIND SOME COMFORT HERE:
I wandered aimlessly over the web this weekend, searching for I don’t know what. These are a few words that helped.
Do We Have the Courage to Stop This? – NY Times
The Maestro and the Boy — Newtopia. What one man’s kindness did for a boy who could have gone very wrong.
Sandy Hook, guns, the mentally ill and control — Sanity from Heather
No Easy Answers — from Big Little Wolf
The School Shooting in Newtown — some perspective
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS
Helping Children Exposed to Shocking Events – from Hand in Hand Parenting
How to Talk to Kids about the School Shooting – from Aha Parenting
Just Add Father is listening. (Add your thoughts by clicking a few lines below below, where it says comments or add one. I always respond here.)
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