I never know what to say when the sadness fills the air. When fear grips the entire world. I don't know what to say or how to express myself when tragedy strikes. Instead, I stay silent. Afraid I may say something wrong, something I will regret.
Saying nothing is less regrettable than saying the wrong thing.
The problem with staying silent is that I don't let out what is slowly building up inside. A slow collection of fear and grief and sadness is slowly amassing inside my brain.
Even worse is my abundant joy and faith in humanity is slowly being carved away with every bullet that is propelled into another innocent person. I can feel it being ripped from me, leaving a gaping wound and a lot of fear. Every time a memorial is erected, a piece of my sense of peace and hope dissolves.
By holding my tongue I am letting go of my ability to hold onto the good. It is slipping through my fingers and I am becoming blind to the beauty. The ugly is so prevalent and loud and in the way. I can't turn my head and ignore it, goodness knows, I have tried.
I have developed a reflex when I hear any reports that include a body count. My hand automatically flicks off the radio or television and my heart immediately breaks while it builds a wall higher and sturdier than before. I can't risk anymore breakage.
I also have to protect my children. I don't want their joy and faith to disappear before they can truly enjoy it. It is the only thing I know how to do and can do well; protect my children. Shield them while they are still so very young and preserve their innocence.
I try to balance feeling every emotion all at once with the numbness that inevitably sets in. Not only do I not know what to say but also I don't know how to feel. I don't think I am built for this. I am not built to comprehend this terror.
I breathe and close my eyes. I blink away tears of sadness and rage. I focus on my beautiful children. I try not to worry about the world they are growing up in. I try not to think about the legacy they are being left with. I try to focus on all the good they are contributing to the world.
Then, tiny things happen. Something pierces the darkness and tiny rays of light filter in. A stranger offers to take my shopping cart back to the corral so I don't have to. A young man at the gas station notices my sleeping baby and gets the wayward attendant for me, allowing my baby to sleep and me to stay with her. A grandmother stops my daughters and I to tell us how beautiful we are and how happy our smiles make her.
These rays of light, these people, they help that waning hope. They are fighting a battle against my silence and sadness. They make me forget my fear and anger. They bring warmth to a cold place.
I have never been one to focus on the negative. I always see the upside, sometimes to a fault. I have been searching desperately for some big shining light amidst this dark. What I am learning is that instead of a giant light, there are tiny rays.
A glimpse here and a speck there, a smile, a hug, a kind word. These little rays add up to the big shining light. They may not take away the tragedies but the do help to restore a little faith and a whole lot of hope.
My hope lies in the subtleties of many as they outshine the darkness of a few.