I've heard the expression that "life goes on", but I've never heard that it stays the same. Because it doesn't... not for anyone feeling the aftershock of an event warranting the expression. Trauma changes us in varying degrees depending on how far we are removed from the point of impact. For the friends and families directly connected to the Sandy Hook tragedy, I know this change will be immeasurable. And with the strength of human empathy, I think we will all feel its affects in some capacity. I think we can all imagine, as painful as it is to do so, what that change will look like for those who lost their loved ones. But what will this change look like for for people at the farthest periphery of the tragedy's influence? Parents who have held their children a little closer this past week... Teachers who have had to discuss an incomprehensible reality with their students... Policymakers who have the responsibility to protect everyday citizens. As with anything else, I think that only time will tell. But, tomorrow, as we all pay tribute in our own ways to the lives lost, I hope we can consider where we want to go from here in how we view the world, live our lives, and value the lives of others. And I hope it's in the direction of love.
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
The ultimate weakness of
violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it
seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor
establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out
darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love
can do that.
May we hold on to the love for those who died. And may they be remembered as stars, casting a glimmer of light through this darkness.