Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Wisdom of a Child

Young Soul - Pictured Left

Very Old Soul - Pictured Right

I will sometimes say, to a certain type of person, that I don't yet know where my son was for the millennia before he arrived in my life, but I'm certain his soul has lived a long and textured existence.

But that is my next post....

Today's post is about my daughter.  This child possesses a purity I did not know existed in the universe prior to her arrival.  I really believe her spirit will be as joyful and exuberant at 100 as it is at 10.  She is one of those rare individuals that is pure light.  She brightens any physical space she chooses to occupy.  I am a very fortunate mom that I have the privilege to share her life.  I'm not sure what karmic favor is being repaid to me, but I'm more than willing to take it.

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot two weeks ago, it was an event of much distress and discussion in my household.  And as I always try to do with the darkness that intrudes into our lives, I shared the facts of the assassination attempt with my children and explored what we could learn from it.

My daughter reacted to Giffords' shooting with sadness.  This was not surprising to me.  She is a compassionate and empathic soul.  She seemed confused about my son's initial focus on the perpetrator of the crime.  Her single focus was on Giffords' survival.

However, when the news of nine year old Christina Green's death was reported on the news, my daughter's eyes flashed with anger.  And she had some questions that demanded answers.

Questions for which I did not have answers. 

Questions for which our Nation does not have answers.

Later that afternoon, my daughter descended the stairs from her room with a single piece of paper in her hand.  She handed it to me and asked if I would please mail it to President Obama.  While the letter is simple and innocent in her understanding of the large and looming issues that surround the Tuscon shootings, she was able to get right at the heart of the matter in a way that only a child can.

Here is her letter, written in her dyslexic font, straight from her heart and unedited by me with the exception of her name and school.  I hope you find it as powerful as I.

Dear President Obeama,

I know how we can stop all these people who do things like what happened to the congress lady and the man who worked for her.  Well the man who worked for her was killed.  The congress lady almost lost her life.  This is what we can bo.  Stop selling guns!  People who go hunting can go to a place were there guns are and pick them up.  They would have to bring there ID to pick them up too.  But before that you will have to go to each house and take ther gun.  Now, bon't think I forgot to say we only give the gun to the army.  The reson why I sent you a letter is it is hard to kill someone with a knif.  Someone like me a little girl who just wants to see who her parents vote for.

Pepper G Stevens            
age 10 4th grade at          
Stepford Elementary         
School NT, Stepford          


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Light in the Darkness


I know.  It's January and the last time I posted was July.  I suck.  More about that later.

Today, we had a national tragedy.  Good people lost their lives.  At this very hour more good people lay in a Tucson hospital and fight to live to see another sunrise. 

An innocent nine year old girl, only months younger than my very own daughter, was murdered... gunned down in an ordinary supermarket parking lot.  What twist of fate brought her to her death today?  Just as my own daughter is a member of the student council at her school, so this child was recently elected to represent her peers.  A neighbor invited the girl to attend Gabrielle Giffords' event.  A kind gesture so that the budding public servant could meet a real life one.  I've always been disturbed by how it is the ordinary things that so often make the difference between living and dying.

As shocking as today's events were, sadly they were not surprising. 

You heard me.


My only surprise is that I have not written this post earlier.

After an ordinary Saturday shuttling my daughter to basketball and soccer, I arrived back home and sat down at my computer to knock out some work.  The yahoo home page's headline about the Tucson shooting caught my eye.  It said something to the effect of "Arizona Congresswoman Shot".

I didn't click the link.

Instead, I immediately got up from the computer and walked to the television.  On the way to the remote control, I knew the Congresswoman would be a Democrat.  I knew she would have recently defeated a Tea Party candidate.

I was right.

I don't know much right now about the gunman other than he was young and well armed.  Oh sure, they'll describe him as a loner and as disturbed.  They'll say he has no Tea Party or Republican Party affiliation.  All of these things, I'm sure, will in actual fact, be true.

But there is a bigger truth here.

A truth that was written by my friends Pam and Daniel many months ago.  A truth that was written and spoken by many ordinary and famous people who saw the vitriolic rhetoric of the right wing for what it is - irresponsible and dangerous rabble rousing.

The demagogues that are Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, et al. have blood on their hands tonight.  The far right wing may not have planned this tragedy, provided the gun to the shooter, or pulled the trigger.  They didn't have to.  All they had to do was send their hate out to the universe, over and over again, day after day.  Eventually, someone took up the call.

The irony that Fox News is covering this tragedy without interruption sickens me.

So tonight my friends, I apologize for my absence.  And I ask you to believe in the words I wrote just a little over a year ago.  Words that I did not live by in 2010.  But words that have renewed meaning and inspiration to me tonight.  Words I aspire to in 2011.

I believe in the power of a singular voice.
I believe a singular voice, when properly focused, can change a heart, a mind, and a community.
I believe a singular voice can turn into a collective one.
And I believe there has never been any positive change in the world that was not initiated first by a singular voice and then by a collective one.

Sadly, we saw today that the reverse of this is also true. 

Only light can kill the darkness.

If you have a voice, please let it shine.