The message I wanted to share with you this week has changed, because as I sat down a few days ago to start work on this post, another school shooting occurred. This time in STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado.
Right after we moved to central Illinois, nearly seven years ago now, I was up in Chicago for meetings for my corporate job. An unfamiliar 800 number came through my cell phone. Thinking it was a sales call, I let it go to voicemail.
I found out later it was a school district communication.
I sat on the edge of the hotel bed, shaking, and listened to the message from the superintendent describing how a high school student had brought a loaded handgun to school, fired multiple shots and detained several students before being disarmed by a teacher.
Thankfully, no one was hurt.
According to Everytown, a non-profit organization advocating for the end of gun violence, since the start of 2019 and not yet including the latest incident, there’ve been at least 43 gun-related incidents in our schools here in the U.S.
As I send my children off to school in the morning, sometimes I wonder Will they come back? Will I get a call?
Generally, I’m optimistic.
I don’t dwell in worry, because I know it’ll make you crazy.
Then again, I imagine that’s how the mothers of the Sandy Hook first graders were that morning, reminding their little ones to not forget their lunch and that they had gymnastics after school, smoothing their hair with a kiss goodbye.
I imagine the mothers of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high schoolers were the same too that morning, asking their kids about weekend plans, wishing them luck on their chemistry test.
Our kids, though, my daughters, they know what it’s like to live in fear of going to school and wondering if they’re next.
Ask Milan Underberg. She knows.
After a generation of Code Red drills and lockdown procedures, our children have become experts in something they never should have had to learn.
I wonder how much longer this will go on?
How much more pain we’ll have to inflict on how many more families?
I brood over my tea, as I consider the enormity of it all. I think of how many people have worked so hard already for change, and of how little seems to be changing.
I start to feel a tide of helplessness.
What can we possibly do?
I stare out the window watching the soft white petals of the crabapple tree drift to the ground.
The silence feels vast.
A cavern of emptiness.
And then, slowly, I remember Martin Luther King Jr. and how he said the only way to overcome darkness is through more light. The only way to overcome hate is through more love.
And I think of you.
You, who have come to this world to coach or to heal or to create
You, who are here to love.
You’ve been given a divine purpose, a soul’s calling, one that calls you forth into this world and toward others, in love. You’ve been created with a unique set of gifts and talents, and given a specific set of experiences unlike anyone else on this planet, designed to help you manifest that purpose and reflect that love that is so deeply needed right now.
Each of you is singular and stunning.
Like a flower.
· A pale buttery yellow rose with a soft salmon center.
· A burst of lilac, reedy with tiny intoxicating flower clusters.
· A bold scarlet amaryllis.
Even amongst the same species no two blooms are exactly the same, petals bend uniquely and colors run through certain veins more vibrantly than others.
So, in the wake of all that’s wrong in the world, what can you do?
Be exactly who you are meant to be in this world, live and love as purely and as gorgeously as you were always meant to.
The world needs you and your gifts.
Do it now.
There are children waiting to be saved.