Once upon a time….almost a year ago

The human condition, all at once filled with hope, and helplessness, beauty and battle scars, philanthropy, and avarice, faith and apathy, love and hate…and more love. If I have learned anything from our nations latest tragedy, it is this: We are first and foremost emotional beings. Our hearts beat with a rhythm set by life, a resounding beat vibrating with our own personal experience. We each respond to this horrific loss of young lives in a different way. Some of us got down on our knees and asked God to be with each and every lost soul and the loved ones left behind. Heads bowed in faith. Faith in a God who did not take those lives so violently. He was with them, comforting each one, and leading them Home. There was an evil force residing in that troubled young man. No mental illness is not evil, but the way in which it manifested itself was, and God did not write his story. While some prayed, others asked why, while others lost faith and let anger take complete hold. Whenever we are faced with such a life altering tragedy, our impulse is to find a point of blame. When the towers fell, many blamed the Muslim religion, lumping the violent in with the non violent. Last week’s tragedy left us with yet another pall over the spirit of humanity; and again we are looking for a reason. Yes, a gun was used. Yes, a mentally disturbed person used that gun. Yes, those children were in what we now realize, was a vulnerable area. The result was unheard of, and we are still reeling from the shock. Our knee jerk response is to protect our children by any means necessary. The answer is not a simple one. The issue of mental illness and the attitude of fear and misunderstanding attached to it must evolve into the sentiment of caring, education, and economy we have toward physical illness. Amending the constitution in order to disarm those who responsibly choose to protect themselves is not the answer. We live in a volatile world, and at the risk of sounding paranoid, I fear that there may come a day when we may be forced to protect ourselves on a very personal level. Personal experience has left me with an extreme fear of guns, one I have had my whole life. The thought of having a gun in my home scares me ….a lot. As a mother and grandmother, my innate desire to protect my family has eclipsed my aversion toward firearms. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones. I believe private citizens will be on the front lines of our front yards. Will this happen in our life time? I pray not. My bleeding liberal tree hugging heart wants a world where the word gun does not exist. The irony of what may result from the increased polarization we are experiencing over political, social, economic, and religious issues; a ripple effect that will drown us in our own differences. Peace on Earth is at the top of my prayer list, right up there with the health and safety of my loved ones. This beautiful big blue marble, and all its ephemeral glory, one big adventure after another, filled with more good than bad, more celebration than suffering, more love than hate. A world worth saving, at the expense of personal struggle. I am conflicted because I opened my mind to the big picture. Instead of standing firm in our own corners, we need to find a middle ground from which to protect our future, our progeny, our hearts….our children.

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