There's not much anyone could say about Sandyhook that hasn't been said already. Since Friday, I've been fighting the darkness in my heart. I felt it creeping in as I saw the initial reports. I had stayed home from work for a doctors appointment. I saw the immediate news of a shooter, and my body felt immediately cold. I remember feeling that way when I saw reports about columbine so many years ago. I had just finished my student teaching when that happened, and the more I learned the details (news was not so immediately available then) the worse I felt. On Friday I went into defense mode and turned off the tv and after reading a few posts on Facebook, I chose to drag that little icon to the trash, as well as all my newsfeeds and even Blogger. I picked up a book and shut out reality. I had to.
I tried to not be emotional, but how could I not? My boys. My precious boys. My students. My colleagues. My husband. Despite all my resisting, everything puts me in Sandyhook in my mind. It could be me losing my children. It could be me losing a colleague. It could be my family, losing me as I simply do my job. It's terrifying and paralyzing and so much more than I wanted to think about. A woman at work passed out green and white ribbons to wear on Monday. I could hardly touch it. I put it in my desk. I could not wear it. I could not think of it or I would collapse into myself. I knew it. I needed time.
This morning I revisited Facebook, and my newsfeeds, and I discovered #26acts. And, somehow, something so simple has allowed me to read the news again, and still feel what I feel minus the vortex of depression pulling me in. I feel hope. Hope that, despite this tragedy, despite the most horrible things I couldn't have ever concieved of before, hope that kindness, goodness and light wins out. As overused as it has become, that Fred Rogers quote, the one where he says his mother tells him when bad things happen, to look for the helpers...it makes me see they there truly is good, despite the bad.
I can't do much, but I can do something...I can be a helper. I can be a helper to those around me. I can help others see the good too. I commited to purposely complete 26 acts of kindness to honor the victims. And I will make that 27, one for his mother. And I might do one more on purpose. Not in his name, but...if it feels right.
I started today. I won a gift card to a restaurant at a race a few months ago, but haven't used it...so I stuck a #26acts stickynote to it and put it in a colleague's mailbox. Later I visited the vending machine and passed along a snack to a pregnant colleague. I have some more ideas, and I hope I make the moment a little brighter for those who cross my path.