Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is MY FAULT

Today I have to break one of my rules.

Normally I refrain from getting swallowed up in religious or political debates in social media, but this one hits too close to home.

Since Friday my Facebook news feed has been awash with shared pictures, quotes, and articles blaming the tragic shooting in Connecticut on gun control laws, a lack of God in schools, and poor parenting. Every time I see one of these I click away and try not to seethe with anger. With frustration. With disgust.

It makes my stomach churn to think of these families watching the news and going online to see these kinds of comments. Why? These comments are not helpful. Not at all. They hurt. Believe me, I know. When my husband was killed, I sat for hours watching people’s comments saying he deserved to die for talking on his cell phone while driving (he wasn’t) or that he was probably speeding (he wasn’t) or that it was all part of God’s plan (it isn’t). Not only was each one of these a painful accusatory jab at the wrong person, but they minimized my grief. The danger in these statements is that they carry a clear, underlying message: If something bad happens to you, it must be your fault. You didn’t pray enough, you weren’t a strong enough Christian, somehow you had it coming. We don’t know all the details and in all likelihood this shooter suffered from a mental illness. Would you tell someone with a broken leg or cancer that they deserved it or that they just didn’t pray hard enough? Of course not.

Do you know what was helpful?

People who said to me, this is tragic. This is horrible. This is not how his life was meant to end. This should never have happened. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. They came by with food, they sat and listened to me cry, they drove me to work.

These are the people who cared.

If you are sitting back, behind your keyboard, lazily reposting someone else’s speech or comments on this tragedy being a result of God being kicked out of our schools or ignored by society, I ask you this: What are you actually doing to help?

Those types of posts can be hurtful, offensive, and cruel. Instead of blaming society, our gun laws, or a lack of faith, maybe you should be contemplating your own role. Because if this is really because God has been kicked out of schools and ignored by society, perhaps the more appropriate message is this:

This is my fault.

MY fault.


Last week I lied to my husband about how much I spent at the store. I was short with my children. I was jealous and bitter. I allowed my competitive nature to take over instead of my loving nature. I gossiped viciously about my sister. I slandered. I embellished a story to make myself look more favourable and someone else worse. I lusted after someone who wasn’t my spouse. I was too lazy to clear my sidewalk after it snowed, not really caring my postman could fall and hurt him/herself. I sped. I cut someone off in traffic. I got angry with the clerk at McDonald’s who got my order wrong. I cheated on a test. I took credit for someone else’s work. I saw starving children on the news and changed the channel. I got angry someone who wasn’t a part of my family was invited for Christmas – they aren’t one of us. I slacked off at work. I knew my mom was having a bad day but instead of calling her, I went out to dinner. I didn’t listen, I didn’t offer support, I didn’t act. I chose anger over kindness. I chose pride over humility. I chose indifference over love. This tragedy is the fault of people like me, doing these things, every day.

I AM society.

MY actions are God’s work in society.

This is MY FAULT.

Instead of sitting back, blaming other people and other things, why not act with love EVERY DAY.

Don’t repost some trite quote on Facebook. Help the families instead. Show them they are loved, that you care, that their tragedy is more important than your religious or political agenda. Send them a letter of love and support. If you live too far away to shovel their walkways or bring over food, give to local mental health organizations to support families dealing with mental illness. Encourage your friends on Facebook to do the same. You can find info on that here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/newtown-conn-shooting-victims-families-community/story?id=17998635

This time of year is the perfect time to ACT with love, instead of just talking. Did you know you can send care packages filled with cookies, toiletries, and gifts to soldiers overseas? Here’s how in Canada: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/commun/message/addresses-2-eng.asp

How about giving to a local charity or inviting someone over for the holidays who is grieving, single, or alone? Shovel your neighbour’s walkway instead of just yours. Stop speeding. Tip generously. Live with the kindness, the grace, the forgiveness, the generosity, and the love of the God you keep saying others have kicked out of society.

Show the world what it looks like when He is welcomed back in.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1,000 Sleepless Nights

On Monday I woke up from 1,000 nights.

1,000 nights without my Craig.

1,000 days of missing him, of wondering what happened, of not understanding.

1,000 days of tears, of heartache, of anger.

1,000 days of fighting, of breathing, of putting one foot in front of the other.

1,000 feels so big.

It sounds so long.

But in the grand scheme of things, it's barely a blip. My heart understands this better than my head.

I wish I had words of wisdom, beautiful things I had learned. Something to mark those 1,000 days.

But in truth, I feel just as lost at times as I did 1,000 days ago.

I still don't know why this happened.

I still don't understand how God, if He exists, could have looked away.

I still can't fathom the magnitude of losing Craig, of where he is now.

I still miss my best friend. So much. Every day.

1,000 days is just time. A human construct, how we mark the slow ticking of a clock. It has absolutely no relevance when it comes to loss.

Loss is still loss, even 1,000 days later.

If anything, it magnifies that loss. Because now we can finally begin to see just how long time can stretch, what it can encompass. 1,000 days means 3 missed birthdays, 3 missed Christmases, 2 nephews' births missed.

It is missing hearing your name called by someone, over and over. Missing experiences, missing jokes, missing laughter, missing fights. It means missing drives to work, visiting with your in-laws, cooking dinner together, sipping coffee on the weekends, curling up to a movie, moving furniture, visiting garage sales, walking in the cold, skating on the pond.

It means missing waking up to someone's face that you know better than your own, eyes that light up whenever you walk in a room, a grin that could make you laugh no matter how mad you might be. It is missing notes left to make you smile and the world's worst macaroni & cheese, made just for you.

1,000 feels like forever.

It crawled by.

It flew past.