Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Reverb 13 · Prompt 10 · Spark

#Reverb13 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give participants the chance to reflect on the past year and take the opportunity to write down some hopes for the coming year.

Prompt 10: What inspired you this year?  How do you think this will impact the year to come?

As we come up to the one-year anniversary of the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut, I'm reminded of the shock and disbelief with which I received the news last year.  Like many parents that day, I picked HRH up from school early so that I could hold her closely, a truly selfish act when so many families that same night were not going to be able to do the same with their own babies.  I still don't understand why an elementary school was the setting for something so senseless (not that any other setting would be "appropriate").  The faces of those beautiful children still tear me to pieces.

This morning, I saw that town officials and the families of the children were asking for privacy during this weekend, something I hope that society and the media honor.  But what truly stood out to me was that the families were asking people, in lieu of flocking to Newtown, to give back to their own communities.

"In this way, we hope that some small measure of goodness may be returned to the world." (JoAnn Bacon, mother of Charlotte, 6 years old)

I admit that I wallowed in grief following my dad's death for too long.  It was easy to become so ridiculously absorbed in my own feelings that I ignored the fact that I was - and am - still alive and healthy and fully able to have a positive impact on my community, something for which I so looked up to my dad for doing (I still do, actually).  So for these families to have come to this understanding while they continue to sort their lives out and find a new footing refreshes my resolve to make my world a better place.  How I do that or what I do doesn't matter; what matters is that I am acting with kindness.

This weekend, then, in memory and honor of all of the lives lost a year ago (an almost-full list of names is here; most lists omit the mother of the shooter, although she is mentioned later in the article) our family activity will seek to do Good.  More importantly, the request of these families will be the foundation of any resolutions or goals that we set for our family in 2014.  I hope that you may also take some time to Do Good in order to make that "small measure of good" become exponentially larger - and brighter - than the darkness of December 14, 2012.

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