If you are like me, you have spent the weekend in various states of discomfort.
You've wept at the news, or maybe dove straight into facebook arguements - probably with complete strangers. You've shed tears at the sound of 'Silent Night', or just been consumed by unease.
I can't imagine facing this type of tragedy without hitting the above notes, although I do know there are scads of people better at handling grief and pain. I am certainly not proud of my soapbox-jumping, although I give myself points for honest passion, rather than a dispassionate consideration. No real reason for that stance. Maybe I am trying to check my honesty?
I cannot type further without laying at least one thought out, to whomever may read this - i haven't the years, or wisdom, or eloquence, to write about what happened.
I can write about reaction. I can write about intentions.
I want to be comforted so badly right now. Being a believer, I want to feel the Divine hand on my shoulder, reminding me that we won't walk through this alone. Also being a believer, I have Not Yet stopped with the eternal 'Why'. That's my spiritual side.
My inner child is going about this a little differently. She wants her warm cozy slippers, her glass of ice-cold baileys irish cream, an ice-water chaser, and the cozy blanket. She wants her husband's shoulder to cry on, a ride in a carriage through the sparkly park in St. Paul behind a pristine white pony, driven by a smiley guy in a top hat who doesn't smell even a little teensy bit like rum. The horse, by the way - obviously - doesn't smell either. And the snow is falling, there are no homeless people screwing up her little escape, and no one in Minnesota is wearing wet cold shoes tonight. My inner child wants to curl up in a ball and nap all afternoon tomorrow until she stops feeling blue.
Clearly, no one has told my inner child that tomorrow is Monday.
But you know what? My inner child is the one that can Demand that we don't treat it like a Monday. My inner child is often the one that gets my a$$ in gear to make the day just an itty bitty bit better. For someone. And while the gameplan would be that my husband, kids, mother, and even pets are the first people that I step it up for, I want the attitude to go with me everywhere. I want to remember this at the intersection, on the road, and in the waiting room at the dr. office. I want to remember to treat everyone - even at the gas station - like it's a holiday For Them. I might annoy people (er, ok, that's probably not a might. It's probably a Fact.) but I am hoping that I will mostly be extending - genuine - courtesy and kindness.
Courtesy and kindness, here in the midwest, changes nothing for any family connected to the tragedy. Courtesy and kindness don't make one minute of grief go away. They don't pay a hospital bill, they don't erase a cold and hideous truth. But the time we have on earth together is the only time we are guaranteed. And I can guarantee that this wallowing in discomfort may have a long-term good - change is usually uncomfortable, and a whole lot of people feel the need for something in our world to change. But I also think that living with courtesy and genuine concern for those we touch is not minor. Somedays it can change the whole picture. Not every day. But I do know the Opposite - rudeness, sarcasm, self-interest - can turn a good day pretty flat for me. And it's happened to me on days that were already really, really bad.
It's quite the opposite of comfort.
I'm going to treat my spoiled inner child right tonight. I'm going to get my ice-water chaser for my Bailey's, make coffee for the morning, and tidy the kitchen. Then I'm going to sleep - a little more easily - with at least one gameplan for tomorrow. Even if I screw up other things, forget to make a phone call, miss the post office stop, I resolve to do it - at the very least - with courtesy.