[dc]W[/dc]hile on my way to Kripalu this weekend to teach, I stopped at a rest area on the Mass Pike for lunch. I paused before getting out of the car as I was crying for the families in Newtown, CT.
A car pulled up next to me and the woman rolled down her window. I could see she was crying, too.
“Connecticut?” She said.
“Yes,” I responded.
And we wept together.
The violence must stop. On that we all agree.
Love and prayers are being sent worldwide to envelope the community of Newtown, CT during this unbelievably horrific time. Our collective heart breaks for the lost souls and those left behind.
And then comes the disconnect. There are a lot of opinions being expressed about how to prevent any future incidents like this from happening again:
- Improved mental health services
- Stricter gun control laws
- More lenient gun control laws
- Closer evaluation and monitoring of the quality of our food, and its correlation to mental illness
- Limiting the amount of violence we allow our children to be exposed to through television, video games, and movies
- Bringing religion and prayer back to the schools
- And more
People are trying to wrap their heads around the situation, and everyone has their own way of going about it. Whatever your thoughts are on the above list, the fact of the matter is that we need to have some conversations; conversations that may be uncomfortable; conversations that could be controversial.
Many say we shouldn’t be debating these things at this time. But when? That same argument was made after the movie theater massacre; and the recent mall shooting; and Columbine; and Virginia Tech. Yes, now isn’t the time. The time was many years ago.
Instead of avoiding the conversation, let’s re-frame it. Let our intention be to come together — those on all sides of the issue — and listen to one another to work together toward some solutions.
Keyword there – listen. Not debate. Not yell. Not holler about amendments. No shaking fists. We’re on the same page. We all want this to stop. Clearly what we’re currently doing (or not doing, as the case may be) isn’t working.
I’m not talking some kumbaya circle (although that wouldn’t hurt either!), but how about an open and honest discussion where everyone is heard?
This movement can start right in your home or community. Chances are you know someone who has a differing opinion to yours. Consider a loving and intentional chat with them to understand their views. And share yours. Try to find a common ground.
I bet by taking a page from each of your books, you can come up with some action to help the overriding goal, which is to put an end to this violence. That action may simply be that you both now sit down with another person, and so on, until you’ve assembled a group of folks willing to harness the collective passion to make some serious waves.
So this is the perfect time for this discussion. It’s when the pain and agony are fresh that we feel the most compelled to take action, and it’s when our intention is to do good and not to be right.
This quote from Mr. Rogers (as in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) has been making the rounds, and rightfully so:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘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.”
Let’s be helpers. Let’s start here. What are you thoughts on a solution to these all-too-common tragedies? Where do you feel, as a country, we should be putting our focus? Let this be a safe place to share your opinions. The world needs your voice.