2012 is winding down and for a couple of weeks I’ve been trying to find a way to write some kind of summary of the past year. Then last Friday, everything that seemed balanced in my world turned upside down. The unspeakable tragedy in Newtown caused me an inexplicable emotional paralysis unlike anything I can remember.
I’m not going to revisit the events or comments made by hundreds of others far more articulate than I am. Yes, I’m a writer and most of my days are consumed with finding the right word to portray the right situation in just the right way to convey a picture visible only in my mind. My imagination never fails me even though, sometimes, finding the right word is difficult. This time it’s different. Even a week later, I struggle to absorb the information I read or see on television. It makes no sense.
Uncharacteristically, I skip over graphic news stories, I can’t look at the pictures of the tiny victims, and I don’t want to know their names. I shut it out.
The reason I said “uncharacteristic” is for two reasons—primarily, that I spent 35 years of my life as a registered nurse. I worked in hospitals, clinics, and emergency departments. I worked with AIDS patients, cancer patients, and trauma victims. I also spent two years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children.
I’ve held gaping wounds together to staunch bleeding, stabilized fractured limbs, and broken ribs performing CPR. I’ve seen a lot of tragedy, much of it needless. It was never easy, but it was my job. As a CASA, I advocated for two two beautiful young people who were mentally, physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. They will never be normal and I will never forget them.
Something is different, something has changed.Maybe because I’m older and a little wiser and view things with more distance. We have always dealt with wildcards, outliers, or just plain mentally ill members of our society who go off the rails. It’s always frightening and always surprising and we shake our heads and go back to business as usual.
This time I feel as though these sudden and violent acts are symptomatic of something much deeper. I don’t know what. Maybe it was 9-11, maybe that’s when we all became so fearful of one another. Maybe that was when every foreign looking face became a potential terrorist. Maybe that was when fear-mongering became the the easiest and slimey-est way to win power and prestige. I don’t know. We lost “US” —the UNITED states.
If the Mayan prediction is true that December 21 will begin a new age of enlightenment I’d be thrilled. I would like nothing more than to shake the mantel of dread and anxiety that hangs over all of us like a pall keeping out the sun. The anger, hatred, and distrust of each other has got to stop. The “us and them” mentality is not only counterproductive it’s corrosive.
I don’t think this is a lesson we want to pass on to a new generation of children.
I grew up as part of the post war baby boom. I don’t remember anything about the war but it was a time for rebuilding. Much of what was accomplished and those first couple of decades laid the groundwork for many of the comforts we enjoy today. I’d like to hope we’ve finally hit the bottom of this dreadful cycle and that the sacrifice of 26 innocents will get us motivated to take back the greatness that is OUR country.
The news cycles have moved on and we scarcely think about the thousands of individuals whose Christmas may be spent in a shelter because of Hurricane Sandy. I pray that a month room now, we won’t have forgotten the Clarion call from Sandy Hook Elementary.
Please reflect, talk about solutions, offer opinions, and quit the stubborn selfish obstructionism. This is a time when we have to work together—all of us. Please.
For every one of you who’ve taken a few minutes to stop by, I wish you health, happiness, and the love of family and friends around the world.
32 thoughts on “A Holiday Message from the Heart”
A lot of what you said is how I feel, Jeanne. I, too, turn off the news. I can’t bear to look at those little faces and think about how their parents will possibly make it through the holidays without them. I’m usually a strong woman, but when it comes to the harm of children and/or animals, I crumble like a stale cookie. So thank you for stating my thoughts and feelings. I have a good feeling about the upcoming year; I feel positive energy about it. I hope it’s gentle, calm, and loving for you, my friend. Peace.
Thanks, Georgia, I appreciate your solidarity. Peace and love for you and your family,
Hope courage and love to you – to us all. Happy productuve 2013. sallyb
Thanks, Sallyb, Wishing you the same!
This is a beautiful piece of writing. Peace to us all would be the greatest gift ever.
Thank you, and we start locally and move outward. Happy Holidays, my friend.
Well said, you. Trying to make sense of the senseless is a hard task, but a necessary journey. May we all create some small peace for ourselves, and for those we hold close. Pax.
Agree, Sheila. As song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
Have a joy filled holiday.
Very, very well done, Barrett. Many thanks. Somewhere, deep inside, I still cling to the hope that we are better than this and that our humanity will surface and reclaim what has been so callously and cynically tossed aside over the past few years. I do carry that hope and prayer into 2013.
Blessings, friend and a very Merry Christmas!
Thanks, Anita, I will cling to that hope, as well. Merry Christmas to you both.
Elegantly stated my friend, and a reminder that the truth is not in the storms, the winds, the earthquakes or the fires, but in the still, small voices. Thank you, Happy Holidays, and peace and love through 2013 and beyond.
That’s a good thought to hold close. I appreciate your words and support.
So many of us are trying to make sense of the senseless. Thank you for what you have done in the past, and what you’ve written here
I appreciate your kind words.
The doomsdayers have actually succeed in creating them. Several of them. I agree that those attitudes are what is ailing society. I have a hard time believing that I am at the root of all evil, as WBC might have people believe. They appear to be the ones inflicting deep wounds. My prayer for the new year is for their kind to come to their senses, and replace all the horrible things they have done with loving kindness. I have hope that this will come to fruition someday soon. Thanks for the thoughts.
I agree,Susan, thanks for sharing a ray of light.Best wishes for a bright beautiful holiday.
Peace to you and hoping for more peace and happiness in 2013. Take care.
Another wonderful blog. If we can do as you recommend and talk solutions and work together – it can be a glorious New Year. Thanks for your words!
Thanks, Kieran, e pluribus unum!
Best Holiday wishes.
Thanks, Barrett and well said.
Best to you and yours.
Hugs from me to you. No words, just hugs and good thoughts across the miles.
That’s exactly what I need, Thanks MAF!
Beautiful blog, Barrett. I wish you all the best in the coming year. I’m glad to call you my friend.
I appreciate your support, my friend. Have a great holiday!
Health, happiness and much love to you and everyone you love. Wishing you the best for the holidays and the coming year. Peace & Love from my heart to yours.
Thanks, my friend!
My partner Mary Phillips is a facebook friend and I always read over her post that are different than mine. Anyway, I read your blog and share your struggle to make sense of the senseless. I teach 7th graders who have emotional and behavioral problems and any of them could grow into such a maladjusted adult. It was interesting to hear them talk about the story. Their hearts were truly touched and wounded. So I ask myself, is there hope for these kids with mental health issues who are appalled with such violence. Anyway, thanks for sharing..Trinka Kittle
Thanks, Trinka, that gives me some hope. Best to you both!
Well said! Merry Christmas to you too, Barrett