Monday, February 26, 2018

Thoughts and Prayers

After Jack died, thoughts and prayers helped carry me.

I could feel our pain being shared in our town, across the country, and around the world by readers like you. You were willing to step into our story, to care and pray, even though it hurt. Those thoughts and prayers helped me get up and speak at Jack's service, and greet his classmates in the carpool line each day after school that first terrible year. They helped me have enough strength to parent Margaret in my most depleted state.

Some people wonder why "thoughts and prayers" are getting such a bad rap these days. I'd love to share my perspective.

For those of you who were with me in those early days, there was absolutely nothing that could be done to "fix" our family's situation. There was no real "cause" attached to Jack's accident. The best thing that could be done for us was to send up fervent prayers.

You prayed, and it did make a difference.

"Thoughts and prayers" ring hollow, however, when those in a position to effect change after a tragedy choose to do nothing, or even actively WORK AGAINST change, while saying they will pray.

This heaps pain upon pain. It is the utmost in disrespect.

When I see yet another child with cancer come across my timeline, I pray. Hard. But I also get out my credit card and donate to children's cancer research, because I know that money will make a difference. I am not a policy maker. I don't decide why children's cancer only gets about 4% of research funds. But I can pray, donate money, spread awareness, and not look the other way.

In the case of our nation's epidemic of school shootings, I can honor the children who died by advocating for common sense gun control. I can support Sandy Hook mom Scarlett Lewis's program to increase Social Emotional Learning so that fewer children will feel so alienated that they turn to violence.

It's easy to say that NOTHING will prevent all school shootings.

Is that reason enough not to try? The victims' families can't be "fixed." They need our prayers, big-time, as they grieve. How generous of them, in the depths of their pain, to use their voices to try to stop this from happening to another family!

There is no way to gauge the power of a single heartfelt prayer.
Or a single weapon that didn't get into the wrong hands.
Or one human connection that made the difference between destructive anger and hope.

I'll close with this powerful video from Aaron Stark, "I Was Almost a School Shooter" Interview is at the top, Aaron reading his letter is at the bottom.

Andrew Fix

For those of you who are not on Facebook, I bet you are overdue for an Andrew Fix.

Here's my busy guy enjoying being outdoors and playing with paint and shaving cream. Puddles are his favorite. Can't believe he'll be two in April!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Be Mine

I know you are used to my rants about Tim's ignoring the Big Day. Or, my propensity to buy myself a purse from Target to celebrate my ardent love for myself on February 14. Or, sweet blogs about family traditions, from WAY BACK in the days when, for privacy's sake, I called Jack "Jake" and Margaret "Molly" on this blog.

Today's a little different.

Tim got me salt and pepper shakers in our china pattern to replace ones that have been broken and mended, broken and mended, over the years. What an appropriate and thoughtful gift.

My first thought when looking at both the old and new shakers, however, was that each set looked a bit...anatomical in its own special way.

My second thought was that the old salt shaker is a really good illustration of 26 Valentine's Days and 21 years of marriage.

The cracks and mending represent some of the excruciatingly hard times we have endured. Times when we've been shattered on the ground. Times we've had to pick through shards and pieces to see if and how we'd fit together again, particularly after our son's death. We are changed by what we've been through, even as we still function. The sustained, everyday use, despite these scars, reminds me of how we have continued to show up, long past the heady early days of wedding registries and clueless optimism.

So maybe this isn't the most romantic Valentine's post you've ever read, but I think instead of throwing away that salt shaker, I may keep it around as a reminder of how far we've come.

LOVE to you today, as always.