In a nation that lives with 30-60 minute sitcoms, and conflicts being wrapped up in that unrealistically short period of time; it would serve us well to remember some simple but not always easy truths. The Newton, Connecticut tragedy happened to real people. Grief takes time. Lots of it. It is not a respecter of persons, but at the same time; each individual experiencing it is just that: individual. It serves us well to not judge another person and their personal journey by what is our own. People need time. Time to process, to think, to breathe, and to find their footing in what will be forced upon them as a new normal. While we are amongst the most fortunate on earth to be free to express opinions, political leanings, platforms and preferences for how life should be lived and legislation executed; the timing in which it is done, is not always proper. Giving people the personal space to grieve and process without the above mentioned noise and constant presence, is often one of the kindest, most thoughtful things we can do for our fellow man. Here are some thoughts that were shared on the internet that are blessings. Thanks to Vernie DeMille and Bruce Brown for being people who speak appropriate words in due season. I remember in a class I once took with Oliver DeMille, his sharing of how he chose to focus on the tragedy of 9/11. He mentioned looking for and concentrating upon highlighting the heroes in that tragic event; and teaching his children to be people who do the same. The world will always have both joy and sorrow to offer. How we see and respond to both is paramount. Prayers, love, and sincere wishes for fresh hope to the precious families of Newton, Connecticut.
From Vernie DeMille…
photo courtesy of bigfoto,com
The Open Window
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The old house by the lindens
Stood silent in the shade,
And on the gravelled pathway
The light and shadow played.
I saw the nursery windows
Wide open to the air;
But the faces of the children,
They were no longer there.
The large Newfoundland house-dog
Was standing by the door;
He looked for his little playmates,
Who would return no more.
They walked not under the lindens,
They played not in the hall;
But shadow, and silence, and sadness
Were hanging over all.
The birds sang in the branches,
With sweet, familiar tone;
But the voices of the children
Will be heard in dreams alone!
And the boy that walked beside me,
He could not understand
Why closer in mine, ah! closer,
I pressed his warm, soft hand!
The timeless wisdom of Mr. Rogers, reinforcing my memories of class with Oliver DeMille…
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world.” -Fred Rogers
Wisdom from Bruce Brown, who spent his working life dedicated to students in the classroom and extracurricular sports…
“It is said that our most highly trained and courageous warriors will run toward the battle and not away. God bless the educators at Sandy Hook Elementary who instinctively and purposefully ran toward gunfire to save their young students.” ~ Bruce Brown