The last month has been a particularly disheartening time – in the news, in my city, and in circles of friends. Violent crimes have taken the lives of innocent bystanders. My husband, kids, and I were half a block away from a stray bullet that took the life of a father. This man was fatally shot while driving his parents and his two kids back home. If we had gone to our restaurant of choice – and not made a grocery stop – an hour earlier, it could have been my husband. Fear.
I forget that the universe puts us all in this lottery where circumstance can put us in harm’s way at any time. Our kids can be playing in the park where a drive-by happens, they might have that coach or teacher that is in a breach of trust, or someone might be driving drunk. I forget that in this tight little nucleus of love that I have in my family that there is a greater swirl of chaos, destruction, and pain. It never makes sense.
I am not the sort of person that is inclined to feel hopeless. I wonder what could I be doing to help. But I’ll admit that there have been more and more situations where I can’t see solutions. There is no easy fix for the street corners that continue to have ongoing gang violence, thefts, and assaults. What do I do about the underlying public perception of crimes that happen in the well-to-do north end versus the crime-ridden south end? I try to bring it all back to my experience in my family – the need of a child to feel safe and secure and the need of a parent to see that their children enjoy a sense of freedom and delight while steering clear of obvious harm.
After the recent series of violent events, I explained to my daughter that a man who was very sick hurt other people pretty bad and some of those people passed away. She looked at me and said, “We have to send them more love.” When I repeated that those people had passed away she said, “We have to forgive them for passing on.” It gutted me. Here I was thinking that I was somehow teaching her something about moving through grief and tragedy in life…and in her innocence, she has such compassion and clarity for what I believe matters most. Holding love above fear.