I’ve been more introspective than usual this holiday season. I think it started when I heard about the shootings in Newtown. How does one respond to such a thing?
Over the days that followed, I listened as other people responded. Some called for gun control, while others advocated for armed security in every American school. Some struggled with depression, asked for permission to greive or questioned what to tell their own children.
I don’t know anyone, personally, who died that day. I don’t have children of my own. I’m not stuggling to make spiritual sense of the nonsensical. But, it does seem that some response, some change, in my own life is appropriate.
I think the reason the violent, senseless death of children hits us so hard is because we see the incredible potential a child has – the life yet unlived, the choices unmade.
The children who died in Newtown that day may have had the potiential to be great musicians, world leaders, gifted doctors. We’ll never know.
If fact, they were ordinary children. And the reality is that, though they had incredible potential, they were no more likely to meet that potential than any one of us.
What we actually bring to the world is built on the foundation of our potential, but is liberated or limited by the the beliefs we hold and the actions we take. Sadly, most of us meet only a fraction of that potential, contributing far less than we are capable of simply because we allow fear to limit what we do.
So, my response to this tragedy is to recommit myself to live up to my potential, to take the difficult actions, even when fear may try to get in my way. My response is to take advantage of the opportunities I have, not only for myself, but out of respect for those, child and adult alike, who no longer have that choice.
That’s how I choose to respond to the events in Newtown.
What about you?