When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Struggling to breathe

Will spent all of Friday lying on the couch in our family room; he was feverish, lethargic, and hoarse.  By bedtime he was complaining of an achy tightness in his throat, and when I went to check on him before I turned in for the night, his breathing was noisy and laboured.  I slept with one eye and one ear open, and when I heard footsteps walking the hallway to our room at midnight, I bolted out of bed before Will even told me in a panicked voice that he was having a hard time breathing.  I bundled him up in the blankets I had left by our front door earlier in the evening in anticipation of needing them, and he and I went out into the chilly night air in an effort to relieve his croup symptoms.  We both sat on our front step, him outwardly frightened, me inwardly so but remaining calm and reassuring on the outside for Will's sake, and we breathed together and waited.  Within a few minutes, Will's breathing came easier; he relaxed and drooped his tired little body against mine and I held him close with my arms wrapped around him under the stars and told him (and myself) that everything was going to be okay.


Sometimes it is terrifying being a parent.  Despite our fervent desires and efforts to keep our children safe from any kind of harm, there are times when we are forced to realize that not everything is under our control.  Never has this fact been more clear than with Friday's senseless and horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conneticut.  Like so many other people, I have cried many tears since hearing the news and am still struggling with how to accept that I live in a world where terrible things like this can happen. I look out my window at the same trees and houses and skyline I've looked at every day for years and somehow today they all seem different to me; there is a hardness and a stillness and a sadness there that I hadn't noticed before. It seems wrong to find any happiness in the twinkling lights and holiday scenes all around me when there are families who are newly missing sweet faces and voices from their midst. I don't know how these families can bear to continue on, knowing how their children were so brutally taken from them. And while our hearts feel only a small fraction of the sorrow the families whose loved ones were killed must be experiencing, I think many of us, so deeply moved by this tragedy, are also wondering how we go on trusting and hoping and finding joy in a world that suddenly seems dark and frightening.

Somehow we must learn to let ourselves breathe easily again, to live not in fear and anger in the wake of such a terrible tragedy, but with hearts that are still open to finding peace and to seeing the good that still exists all around us.  We do it by believing what we tell our children to reassure them in times like these:  that the world is full of gentle, kind, caring people who love and help one another, and that we should find and create examples of this fact daily to help us remember it.  We do it by continuing to reach out to others, building meaningful connections between us that allow us all to feel secure and accepted and supported. We do it by speaking up in an effort to make guns less accessible to hands that should never hold them, and help more accessible to individuals and families who are struggling and hurting. We all sit together in the chill of this dark moment with our arms wrapped around one another, and we have faith that even though life will sometimes be unpredictable and awful and shocking and heartbreakingly sad, together we can find a way to somehow be okay.

Sending heartfelt prayers and sympathies to all of the families of Newtown, Conneticut who have suffered such an enormous loss. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautifully written. . .

    Sigh. . .

    I wish there were more words. . .