Thursday, April 19, 2007

My friend Shannon just wrote this:

33 Shot Dead in Campus Massacre

The headline stopped me for a minute when I scanned the online news yesterday afternoon. Then I returned back to my work. I didn’t think about it much the rest of the day ― I was busy writing, I had a couple of client calls, then I transitioned quickly into the usual evening routine with my daughter: dinner, bath, tooth brushing, and bedtime stories. It wasn’t until she was asleep that I thought to turn on the television. I watched the news for about 10 minutes or so, then switched to Jon Stewart. Like me, he opted to repress, focusing instead on jokes about the White House e-mail scandal and Alberto Gonzalez.

Why wasn’t I more upset by what has now been confirmed as the worst shooting spree in U.S. history? I remember when the Columbine murders happened – how disturbing that incident was to me, so disturbing that I felt physically ill. I watched the news for days afterward, unable to believe it had actually happened. But it did happen. And so much more has happened since then. September 11. Genocide in Africa. Daily reports from Iraq of eight dead by a road-side bomb, 20 dead in a market, 100 dead in a mosque.

All enough to numb your brain and your heart.

Motherhood has changed me ― sometimes in ways that I hadn’t expected. Instead of becoming even more sensitive to the tragedies of the world, I feel like I’ve become a little bit harder. I hold these events at an emotional distance ― not because I don’t care, but because it’s how I get by. Otherwise, I just couldn’t step up to making chicken fingers and reading Harry the Dirty Dog on a day when 33 mothers got the worst news possible. Somewhere, something bad is going to happen tomorrow, too. But I like to think that there will also be babies born and lives that are saved and long-awaited reunions. I have to believe that there is some kind of balance.

I say a prayer for those 33 families. Then I look at my daughter and say a prayer that she will always be safe and happy, and that all the other daughters and sons, brothers and sisters and moms and dads will be, too.

Logically, I know that this is a tall order. But it’s my small way of trying to balance out the headlines.

By Shannon Matus-Takaoka


anjie said...

Like Shannon, I've found myself not wanting to think about the shootings either. But I've vascillated between feeling like that, imagining myself geared up and on guard at my kids' school, and just hoping hoping hoping that the good I stand for in the world will just hang in there to prevail.

jan said...

I cry, I question, I pray, I lament the loss of young, energetic, enthusiastic students and the loss of their potential contribution to our society and their lives not unfolding with marriages and families. I'm in sorrow for the killing of professors and the sudden curtailing of their knowledge and teachings. I hurt for families and friends of those murdered, I hope, I sorrow, I want to help, I pray, I wonder why, I hurt for the killer's family, I pray for those in our society feeling like Cho, I pray they'll seek help and not act out like Cho felt he must. I pray God will continue to surround His arms of love around all of us. Thanks, God for your everlasting love. I know you didn't cause this tragic event to happen but you allowed it. I wish I could understand how this fits into Your grand plan. Help me there, please. May we see that unfold in the days and years to come.

Mom, JJJ, Grammy