A Handful Of Darkness

A 4-year old abducted and raped in Wilmington.  A chemical gas strike against innocent civilians in Syria.  A terrorist attack in Stockholm.  It has been a very dark week.  Things we shouldn’t hear about in the news.  But we do, because there is darkness in the world.  People who do very bad things.  If these perpetrators’ actions weren’t killing people, they were traumatizing them.  They turned people into victims.  Today was one of those days where you were afraid to see what happens next.

I lived in Sweden in the mid 1990s from February,1996 to May, 1997.  I worked in Stockholm, the nation’s capital.  The two places I worked at were on Drottningsgatan (Queen St.) where the hijacked beer truck purposely tried to hit as many pedestrians as possible before it crashed into Åhlens department store.  Right below the store is T-Centralen, which is the Grand Central of the Stockholm subway system.  It is a miracle only 4 lives were lost (as of this writing) and 15 injured.  It shocked Sweden as it does any country where these acts of cowardice happen.  Had I still lived there, I could have very easily been right where that truck hit  shortly before 3pm if I continued to work at either of those jobs.  A witness reported the driver went right into a baby carriage.  Who does that kind of thing?  What cause is ever worth taking innocent lives?  I can’t think of any.

Everyone is going nuts about Trump lobbing missiles at Syria.  I won’t weigh in on whether I thought that was right or wrong, but I do know the chemical weapons attack against civilians in Syria was wrong.  And it wasn’t the first time this happened.  It is a horrible way to die that no man, woman, or child should ever have to go through.  But they did.  They were not able to cry out for justice as the air was stripped away from their bodies.

Last night a little girl in Wilmington, only four years old, was abducted while playing with friends.  She was raped and put in a park after.  Four years old.  I can’t even fathom someone doing that to anyone, much less a precious child.  I pray for her and her family today.  It used to be you could leave your kids to play outside on your own street.  Now the parents in that community are scared because the monster is still on the loose.

For all this darkness, there is always light.  Today, I proudly watched as a family I know officially adopted a foster child they took in a year ago.  3B: Brae’s Brown Bags took part in an event where Delaware children and adults got together to help end hunger in our state.  Even with some cold and windy weather, I got to see flowers and leaves popping up today.  My son made the Honor Roll at his school.  I watched two people I know, one most of my life and the other I met only once, go through very tough health issues but they both look to be on the mend.  There are good things happening every day but far too many of us see the bad.

We don’t have to let a handful of darkness block out the light in our lives.  We can find that light, or even become a part of it.  It doesn’t mean we don’t mourn and bow our heads in prayer when bad things happen.  But we also need to celebrate the good.  It isn’t easy, but it really is the only way to keep your sanity.

Her Name Is Amy

Something happened yesterday in Delaware that shook them to their core.  She knew she would be forever viewed as the student who died because of something that happened inside her school.  She woke up yesterday, got ready for school, her mind heavy with whatever circumstances eventually led to her death, and faced the day.  She probably didn’t know it was going to be her last.  Her name is Amy.

She got to school and soon after found herself in a girl’s bathroom where she then found herself in a fight with another girl.  Others joined the fight and what may have been even odds soon became unbalanced.  As onlookers excitedly watched and some may have pulled out their iPhones to film the fight, the girl’s head hit the floor.  As instincts for defense flashed out of her mind I imagine she felt a sudden jolt of pain and then nothing.  Her name is Amy.

She may have felt her soul leap out of her body.  She may have seen her mortal shell no longer a vessel for her heart and soul.  She may have seen the confusion, anger, and sadness around her death.  Depending on what she believed, many things could have happened.  She felt a warmth and a light calling to her as she was welcomed into the arms of those she lost in her short time here.  All her worries, confusion, and anxiety lifted from her in an instant.  Surrounded by unconditional love with a true understanding of what existence is truly about.  Her name is Amy.

As she met our Heavenly Father and His Son, she understood why everything happened the way it did and she was at peace with it.  She may have shared some of that light and kindness with her family on Earth, and her friends, and even her enemies.  She may have seen the endless tears stretch across a nation yesterday as people who never knew her tried to grapple with what happened.  Perhaps she knew her death may have meaning in the long run and serve as an example of much-needed change on our world.  Her name is Amy.

She may have seen the pervasive darkness that surrounded the city she called home.  The true evil, mixed with moments of grace, as the city endlessly struggles to heal itself.  She may have seen the light inside each and every one of its inhabitants, struggling to bring out that light and let it shine.  She may have seen those who do not have a home to call their own except the hard streets.  She may have seen the endless debate, trying to find fault in her death.  But she knew her death meant she would have eternal life.  She understood that her freedom was our loss and for some, nothing would ever be the same again.  She knew some would attempt to change things because of her death and she smiled.  Her name is Amy.

It was the last day of her mortal life and the first day of her eternal life.  The things that mattered to her here were still with her but in her new life she felt a connection with it all.  She saw how one pebble could have a ripple effect on those around her which spread out around the world.  A butterfly effect.  She understood that human beings could make a choice, to give her death true meaning they would need to look outside themselves to understand the multiple reasons for answering the whys.  She understood the factors that led to her eternal life and no one thing could give a clarifying and simple answer.  From the time she was in her mother’s womb until her last breath, everything mattered.  How one smile to a stranger could have lifted their burdens of the day.  How one word of anger could have darkened the light inside someone.  How one tear of sadness could have hardened a soul to indifference.  While these things made her who she was, she understood that it meant everything to those who cried for her but none could understand the entire puzzle.  Her name is Amy.

She understood that it wasn’t just about education, or boys, or crime, or authority, or lawlessness, or anger.  It was about life, in all its shapes and forms and colors.  Every action, every thought, every moment… it mattered.  She saw the pictures forming in the minds of the lost and she knew one day they would understand.  She knew God gave each of us a piece of Himself and we could never see the full picture until we returned to Him.  She saw the technology with her name everywhere and she laughed, a jovial soul-cleansing laugh that spread throughout the afterlife.  Heaven got brighter yesterday as it does when every new soul joins it.  An unending light that gives each of us a piece of that light.  She understood this in her first day.  Her name is Amy.

Tonight we’ll build a bridge across the sea and land
See the sky, the burning rain
She will die and live again tonight.

-U2-“A Sort of Homecoming”

 

 

A Time To Be Bold, Teachers. Do Not Let Fear Rule The Day.

I had a recent conversation with a teacher, and she thought certain things about me based on this blog and what we were talking about.  She assumed I was a teacher.  I am not a teacher.  At least not in the classroom sense.  I am not beholden to any administration, educators association, or state department.  I am beholden to my son, and his educational well-being.

This gives me latitude and the ability to operate without fear of certain kinds of retribution.  It’s very easy for me to sit here and type these words.  It’s easy for me to tell people to rise and speak with one voice.  But I understand it is not that easy for you.  Besides being a teacher, you are also wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, you have parents, grandparents and nieces and nephews.  Some of these people depend on you to feed them, or clothe them.

There is a movement going on in Delaware.  It’s been a slow thing, waiting for this to happen.  But it is happening, right here, right now.  For far too long, the darkness has blocked us from seeing the truth.  Fear has left the operations and machinations of the nefarious to be shrouded in darkness.  But one by one, the light is beginning to shine through the cracks they have unwittingly exposed.  Perhaps it is their own guilty conscience that has allowed this to happen.

I see a time when all is exposed.  When all the cards are put on the table.  When we can sift through the rubble and rebuild, and make something new.  But we can’t get there until more people speak.  Until they use the very gifts bestowed upon them to educate our children.  We need you to teach us out of the darkness.  The greatest accomplishments in history were when great men and women went beyond the call of duty.  When they would not remain stifled in the dark and shone their light on the world.

As parents, we want you to say no.  We want you to do what is best for our children.  We want you to teach.  We are tired of the iron fist that is hanging above you, every second of the day.  We are exhausted from you being forced to do things you do not want to do.  We need you to rise.  But more than that, we need you to speak.  We need you to tell your stories, from the past and the present.  Fear is a powerful thing.  It allows us to become paralyzed and unable to move.  But the truth will set you free.  Untangle yourself from the web created by those who believe fear is more important than truth.  Become your destiny.