As a country, in the year 2012, we have seen some of the most atrocious acts of mankind imaginable. We also saw some of the deepest examples of goodness.
As a mother, my soul cringed at the news from Newtown. Before I knew the horrifying final number of victims, I thought to myself, “one is too many.” Having been present in the Denver area when the massacre at Columbine occurred, a sense of doom set in from the time I knew what was happening in that tiny town in Connecticut. Having known people who were in the theater in Aurora when evil took over, a numbness clouded my world. We never send our kids to school or allow them to go to the movies with even an inkling that we’ll never see them again. Why would we? This is the greatest country on this planet so we shouldn’t live with the fear that we won’t see our loved ones, especially our babies and youths, again. This is the land of opportunity. Our children should have the opportunity to grow into responsible adults with their own families. Unfortunately, many won’t. After each tragedy of this nature, there is always that question of why. Reasons and excuses come from all angles and all perspectives. Innocent lives were lost in each of these situations, so for me, no reason or excuse will ever suffice. It is a pill that I’ll never be able to swallow.
In each of these situations, there were people who performed selfless acts to prevent farther carnage. By now, we all know that there were six women who lost their lives that day. There will never be words to adequately describe the steps those women took in the name of the children. They were, as most women do, acting in that protective role. They shielded as many children as they could. They were heroes. Had any of them survived, we could never do enough to thank them for what they did.
That human goodness was seen in the police officers, EMTs, firefighters and others on that day, as well as when the tragedies at Columbine and Aurora. Who will ever forget the sacrifice of the firefighters and police officers on September 11, 2001? None of us. In the midst of the worst of times, we see the best of people.
Outside of those tragic times when heroes arise, there is goodness in everyday life. Think of the New York police officer who took it upon himself to put shoes on the feet of a homeless man. A woman took it upon herself to pay off the lay-a-way plans for several customers. Think of the person who pays it forward by paying for the next customer’s order at your local coffee house.
While it will take some time to heal, let us take comfort in the fact that there are great, loving people in this world who deserve far more recognition than the ones who bring us sorrow and pain. Let’s live in the aftermath, not just linger