If you have read other posts on this website you will have seen my attempts to write about serious topics in an uplifting manner, at least until recently. The school shooting in Ulvalde , Texas seems to have changed that for me. I am heartbroken for the families; angry at the misuse of guns; and stunned by the United States inability to collectively find a way to do something to prevent this horrible tragedy from happening again.
I’ve been been binge watching a lot of old Grey’s Anatomy episodes lately and what I realized as I watch the weird and incredibly serious illnesses the characters on this TV show deal with every day, is that life is truly fragile. Of course every time something happens to somebody that I love I’m reminded of that, but like most of us I suspect, the realization that life could end in a millisecond is just too enormous to deal with on a regular basis.
Each morning I get in my car for the short drive to work and from the moment I put on my coat, there are any number of ways my life could end. I could get caught in the sleeves of my coat as I’m heading down the stairs and stumble and break my neck. Upset about the near fall I could be so distracted that I run through a red light or swerve into oncoming traffic. I could get struck by lighting or my car could explode in a ball of flames. And all that doesn’t even take into consideration what others could do to cause my death.
So what is it that keeps us from leaving our houses and living our lives? Why don’t we all just lessen our chances of death by curling into a ball on the couch wrapped in cotton wool praying 24-7 that we make it through another day? What is it that propels us to take risks to drive fast, to not wear a seatbelt, to jump out of a plane, to hurtle our bodies down a snow covered hill at 50 miles an hour?
It seems obvious that the answer is we need to live our lives and for life to mean something, we can’t do it from the couch. Life has been a risk since the Garden of Eden and humanity will always find a way to inflict sorrow on each other. Yet the moments of joy when a baby is born, when a father walks his daughter down the aisle, and when nineteen children and two of their teachers are remembered and loved are what bring us off that couch and into the world.
We are eternal optimists. We believe that the world can change and we can somehow make it better. But believing is not enough. It takes action and making hard decisions. Words are not enough and solving this epidemic of mass shootings will take all of us to give a little and remember what we are here for.
Life is not a tv show. We all deserve a chance to get off the couch and live our lives in peace and safety. Let’s work together to find a way for it to happen.
Be well my friends…