Last Friday, hearts across America and the whole world were heavy, as we learned of the events that had taken place in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers were all most of us could offer. Almost a week later, many of us are still following the coverage and the heart-wrenching stories. But the reality is for many of us, life has gone on, and it is business as usual. But before we’re so quick to get back to business as usual, I urge that we confront ourselves and each other with the question, “What should we do?”
This question was posed to me on Sunday mass; it was posed to the entire congregation and it was the main theme of the priest’s homily. It’s a legitimate question and empowering answers were offered, at least spiritually. And as I struggle to find meaning, and to write something meaningful about this horrible event, I find myself constantly returning to that question, “What should we do?”
Having had the privilege of being an older sister (after being the youngest following three boys), I partook in my sister’s up-bringing who is now twelve years old. But she’ll always be my little sweet baby girl. Coupled with the fact that I’ve always been someone who has found the suffering of children hard to contemplate, like so many others I’m sure, this story hits close to home.
The initial reaction of many was and is, hurt and anger and devastation and confusion, and many of us are not even directly affected. One can only wonder what the families and friends in Newtown must be going through. But as the families and friends continue to mourn and to heal, right before we get back to business, please ask yourself, “What should we do?”
Here’s what I think:
I think we should light a candle and say a prayer for a brief moment, each day during this season, for all those who passed and all the families who are forever affected by this tragedy.
I think we should be grateful every day for the opportunity to live and to live like our lives matter and like we can make a difference.
I think we should have some very tough conversations as a country about out politics, about our gun laws; conversations that are reasonable and fruitful and that serve the greater good.
I think we should have a real discussion on the state of our health, especially our mental health, and make decisions that benefit those who are most in need, which will benefit all of us.
I think we should ponder our culture and our future and what we want this culture to be, and what we need this nation to stand for, and not stand for.
I think we should contemplate our freedoms and the responsibility that comes with exercising those freedoms.
I think we should live like we owe each other respect and humanity and dare I say, even love. Because in the words of Mother Theresa, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”
When it’s all said done, when we strip ourselves of our categories of race, nationality, creed, and all the rest, you and I are the same, and we owe it to those who came before us, and those who will come after us, and each other right now, to create a culture where these occurrences are truly scarce; a culture of life and love. We owe it to ourselves to no longer need to ask in this way, “What should we do?”