18 Dec 2012 2 Comments
Maybe I am writing this because I can’t stop obsessing and feeling such great sorrow over what happened last week at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Connecticut. I find myself walking around like a zombie, thinking about what those teachers, staff and children went through on that tragic day and then what those parents went through when they found out the news. As an educator, mother, human being etc. this story has touched me in a way I can’t even fully understand myself.Everytime I read a story or watch a report about it I just cry and kiss my children as I hold them as tight as I can. There is a famous quote that says,”Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Talmud,Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a). I never connected with that quote as much as I do right now. I feel helpless and distraught to no end, so I can’t even begin to imagine what the victim’s parents are going through. I also think about all those surviving students and staff ….what is going through their minds? How do they make sense of this? How do they work through the pain, grief and sorrow of seeing their friends/colleagues/students being shot? If I am having a hard time, then how does a 6 or 7 year old “deal” with this? I also think about the part of the quote that says, “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved the entire world” and think of the heroic teachers who risked their life to protect their students! What unbelievable educators who loved their students as if they were their own (I know that feeling all too well!).
When tragedy hits, the human brain needs to figure out a way to understand it. We need to understand why it happened and come up with who and what to blame, so we can try to prevent it from happening again. Nothing upset me more on Friday then to see “anti-gun” post all over the media and Facebook. This is such a hot topic, that even my husband have opposing views and have been arguing about it for days now. I remember getting the same feeling after 9/11 when they started to talk about immigration reform the next day. Everyone is distraught, sad, emotional and angry and instead of showing the victim’s families how seperated as a country we are by fighting over this “hot” topic, can’t we do them the respect of coming together and showing love, kindness and humility instead? Wouldn’t that be a more healing approach? I have very strong opinions on the “hot topic”,but whenever I share them and get myself into a debate, I end up feeling more upset and creating distance from the person I’m talking with. Which is the last thing I want to do at a time like this!
Mrs. Shifra Aviva Deren wrote an inspiring article after spending some time with one of the victim’s family and she says,”Yes, G‑d has taken them home (referring to President Obama’s speech about the victims). But now it’s time for the rest of us to make sure that G‑d’s home is right here on earth; to make sure that we, all of us together, bring heaven down to earth.And Newtown will then forever be known as the place where light triumphed over darkness, the place where the healing of our aching world finally began for real.”
Yes, I think change needs to happen! Yes, a gun was used to kill innocent lives, but there was a complex and disturbed man behind that trigger that we need to look at. Could more caring individuals in his life, love, therapy,medication, gun control, prevented the attack on Thursday…maybe and maybe not? I guess we will never know. As an educator I always told my students that “life is 10% of what happens to us, and 90% of our attitude towards it”. In other words, how are we going to learn, grow and heal from this tradgedy? Giving, helping, showing compassion and love to others is a great start. Telling people what they mean to you and reminding that they are loved and how important they are is crucial.
Noah Pozner, age 6, who was killed in the shooting loved rainbows. And in the Bible G-d sent a rainbow to Noah as a covenant that he (G-d) would not flood the world again. Mrs. Deren put it perfectly when she said,”We need a flood! Not, G‑d forbid, a destructive flood—we’ve had more than enough of that. What we need is a good flood—a flood of kindness, of caring, of compassion, of goodness, of warmth, of benevolence, of support, of reaching out. There are, thank G‑d, enough of us on this planet to make sure that not one human being ever feels lost. We need a flood of connections.”
Connections…..And may their names live on forever and ever!
Sending love and healing,