A good friend of mine gets concerned about things happening in other parts of the world. Jon stays up late reading and talks about issues over coffee as if they all were happening in his own living room. He develops intelligent points of view, which are well articulated and well defended. He gets all worked up. His face expresses each emotion.
I’m different. My focus is always on what’s directly in front of me. It’s not that I don’t care about distant occurrences; I just get tuckered out addressing the issues that most affect me and my circle. It sounds a bit self-centered and limiting, but it’s the truth.
That changed on Friday. Jon called to tell me about the tragic killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I went numb. I couldn’t get the visions out of my head: little sons and daughters screaming, the noise of gunfire, the bravery, the slaughter.
The boundaries of my own circle vanished, as this deplorable event captured my senses. All I wanted to do was go somewhere quiet and mourn for families I do not know.
Unlike Jon, I chose not to dig into the details, to listen to the reporters who rushed to the scene, to see pictures of the elementary school. I chose not to listen to a grieving President. I knew enough.
All of my alternate drafts for this week’s Mindful Midweek seemed small and out of place. I’ve been a child lining up to go into the safety of a schoolhouse. I’ve watched my own children march inside. And my grandchildren. Now, that’s all I see.
Once the numbness leaves, I know I’ll be even more grateful for the many of you, the caring professionals, who have chosen the work of behavior change. It matters not where you are: in clinics, hospitals, prisons or elementary schools, in buildings next door or two thousand miles away. You will go back to work, for the children, and for all of us.