Saturday, December 15, 2012

Too Close, in Too Many Ways

Disclaimer: This post is a selfish attempt at a balm for my spirit.

This morning, I don't want to turn on the television. But I know I will.  I don't want to read or hear the debates around gun control. But I know I will. I don't want to read or hear the laments about the lack of adequate mental health care in this country. But I know I will. I don't want to see the word "loner" or the label "Asperger's Syndrome" attached to this horrific event. But I know I will. And I most definitely don't even want to think about the children and our colleagues and their friends and families in Newtown, Connecticut, which is only minutes away from both where I grew up and where I live now. But I most definitely know I will, over and over and over.

But I will also focus on the sanctity and the safety, both literal and figurative, of the schools to which we send our kids, in which we work. We strive, daily, to make our classrooms and playgrounds and cafeterias and gymnasiums sacred places for our students. We do this in both obvious and subtle ways, and we do it out of pure love and devotion. And when what we create is shattered, we are shattered, too. 

Parents wonder how they can put their kids on buses on Monday and worry about their own schools' safety. In one moment, educators wonder if we'll return home from work on any given day. In another moment, we begin planning how to best support our kids (and their parents) who will have both worried and worrisome questions. In the next, we wonder what more we can do to prevent things like this from happening. We worry about ourselves and our students, and we feel deeply. The loss of twenty children and seven adults (and a very troubled young man who once sat in our classrooms) is a heavy enough grief for this country to bear, and we teachers add to its weight with our feelings of concern, responsibility, and yes, inadequacy. The "how can this happen" question is close to the bone for those of us in education. 

And yet, we will return to our schools and to our work. We will gather each other and our students in our arms and in our hearts and we will march forward together. We must, for to do otherwise would be a surrender to our fears and an abandonment of our ideals. 

For Twenty Eight

The moon
on this 
senseless night
is a slender cradle
for your light
and I'm afraid
the bough
has broken.

But we will 
catch you
- all of you -
in our arms
and hold you
until we are
never full

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