This was started Friday, August 23rd, and as suspected there is not much in the news today about what happened in Atlanta, just a week ago. My wish is the same nonetheless, so please, take a moment to read, then pass on. Thank you.
As I sit down to write, I confess that I thought I would be working on another post. A post about our Elf. That post will be light, and I hope funny, but as important that I feel it is to strive to keep things light and funny if at all possible, I know there are more important things. And THIS is one of them. Not for promoting Sadie's, but I truly hope that this is the post that goes viral. So please, take a moment to READ THIS POST, (actually approximately 4 minutes) then pass it on to EVERYONE YOU CAN THINK OF.
Today, as you may know, my youngest started kindergarten. All went well, she walked into her idyllic school full of smiles, and I for the most part, kept it together, somewhat. I mean, after all, she is my baby, my last child, and as she walked into the school I said a little prayer, "Please keep her safe." I am sure I am not alone. I sit here writing, and I can't believe, how quiet, and odd it is for me to be the only one in this house. This week was crazy busy; full of getting the last minute things for school, starting school, school activities, playdates, over tired fits, and many, many other things. I, along with many other parents, had their hands full, and their minds going 100 different ways, that I was kind of oblivious to the rest of the world. This includes the occurrence near Atlanta.
I call it an "occurrence", because we have that luxury. We were granted that luxury due to the calmness and the grace of Ms. Antoinette Tuff. In all likelihood, that occurrence will disappear from the headlines, the 24 hour multimedia news, and our minds. Maybe even as soon as this piece is posted. Life goes on. As it should. But we have a HUGE opportunity to learn from it.
If you would like to hear the call, and other related material from CNN, click here, but chances are you may have heard the call, or are at least more aware of the happenings of that day than I initially was.
In a nutshell, what she did made the difference between an occurrence and a tragedy.
She took a moment. She remembered that the man with the AK-47 was a person. Then she talked, and listened. When he stated that it didn't matter, she replied "Of course it matters!" She went on to talk with him, shared her own trying times, and let him know that she had contemplated suicide, but she didn't and now time had passed, and she was okay; and he would be too. She made him see, what he came in to do that day, with an AK-47 and a lot of ammunition, was not his only option. She cared enough and took a moment to make him take a moment. Also, THANK YOU to Mr. Hill. Yes, You matter to me as well. It took a lot I know to acknowledge what Ms. Tuff was saying, and to give yourself up. You showed the world amazing courage to go on. Hopefully you get the the help you need and will be able to see past your pain and troubles at some point. You will never be thanked enough.
What would happened if we all followed suit, to the best of our ability?
If we took a moment. To stop, and think. Before reacting? When someone says something rude; a driver cuts us off, or does some heaven knows what maneuver? To not go for the jugular, when in a disagreement. To not think in ultimatums.
To remember, every single person begins and ends the same way.
To take a moment, and remember, and remind, that everyone matters. To let your kids, your parents, your spouses, your ex spouses, your friends, your parents, know without one iota of a doubt; they matter.
I think everyone would agree with the statement that the world is a crazy place. Everyone gets down sometimes, some people more than others. Not sure if mental illness is more prevalent today, or just more recognized than it was 30 or so years ago. There seems to be a thinner line today between normal and crazy. This is not a judgement call, just an observation. Believe me, I have enough of a history of mental illness in my family to know that it's closer and more common than we think. I learned not too long ago that the very funny, talented, and I'm sure affluent, Stephen Fry admits to a time of wanting to "self slaughter." EVERYONE has problems.
As Ms. Tuff said, "bullets don't have a name." And they only take a moment. And they create the final ultimatum.
Mom used to say, "Everything is temporary. The bad as well as the good." So hang on. You Matter.
If you have seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, you are familiar with the optimism Dev Patel's character conveys with the line, "They say everything will be alright in the end; so if it's not all right, it's not the end." If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.
In the last few lines of David Baldacci's Absolute Power, he shares a character's thoughts:" what a wonderful and precious commodity life was" and "how that precious commodity could be brutally ripped away." He concludes the novel with, "But that was the great thing about being alive, he thought. Today might not be so good. But tomorrow, you got another chance to get it right."
What if we all took a moment? To find grace. Patience. Compassion. I believe that would matter.