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“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta

 

Needless, senseless, unbelievably gut-wrenching, horrific suffering defines the week we’ve had in America. I think we can all agree on that point. Closer to home, closer to my own heart, it has been a week for terrible and tragic news, as well. A dear friend of The Girl’s was admitted to ICU with pneumonia related to her chronic illness. A family member went into premature labor, just shy of 21 weeks pregnant, knowing her daughter would die in her arms. A child of mine is having seizures, and so a litany of tests loom on the horizon for us at Children’s Hospital, and my resolve is weakening. More suffering, that I’m not at liberty to share, has occurred to others I love, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make sense of it all; to endure, to persevere in hope.

Certainly, I cannot be the only person feeling like I have been trudging through a deep, glutinous mud, fighting my way to get beyond this week, reaching out for someone, something to pull me up and out of the mire? So, I pray. I walk. I write. I read. I get outside. I find extra moments of solitude. I pour love into my family. I eat chocolate. I seek joy. Winding myself back down to remember the simple pleasures of life, I can reign in my rising anxiety, and keep calm for the time being.

Though, when enormous, life-shattering events, like Sunday’s massacre happens, how do we keep moving, one foot in front of the other, when our legs are shaking, bodies tense with stress, minds weary with anxiety, and hearts so heavy with anguish for ourselves and our fellow Americans? We question and fear—that’s what we do. We become irate and upset, rightfully so. We recognize the fear we feel for our children and the future of our country. All of these reactions are justifiable and necessary, absolutely so. We must allow ourselves to grieve these great losses, sorrows and sufferings and then find a way, even when innocent lives are taken so dreadfully, to move forward on in love and peace. Or, the lives lost to such an epic crime will have been taken in vain, and moments for healing and forgiveness will be missed. And we can never, ever let Evil break us down, take hold, nor win.

Although heartbreak may linger for quite some time, the cracks can’t define us. It would be easy to lose heart completely, give into despair, and forget all hope that remains. Whether the sufferings we witness are felt near or far, we must try to commit ourselves to the greater good, be a light, offer prayers and assistance, move forward in love and hope, do better for each other, and reach out in sincere kindness. At least, that’s my goal– to continue moving forward knowing that we make our own choices: between hope or fear, light or darkness, evil or love. I know which road I’m constantly seeking and plan to plant my own two feet there, with courage. Please, won’t you join me on the right path?

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta

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