I vaguely remember being taught once that postmodernism began in response to World War II, and to the Holocaust in particular. The challenge of creating any kind of fictional representations of life in the face of such real atrocities was unimaginable to some. What can be said about such horrors? How can one even attempt to create art to convey those emotions without somehow degrading those emotions?
I bring this random slice of literary theory up because in my own (very) small way, that's how I'm feeling tonight.
How can I even attempt to blog about the silly, unimportant trivialities of my life? What good are posts about my new dishwasher, or the fact that Madeline has a cold, or the dinner I made my family tonight, when so much unimaginable pain has been coursing through the country the past few days?
To pretend like nothing happened; to continue typing away as if everything was normal, is not right. But where does one even start trying to address the issue? What can possibly be said that hasn't already been said? How can I possibly put into words the feelings I'm having...that we're all having?
Throughout the weekend, packages have been arriving for Christmas. Every time I opened one of those packages, I thought of the presents, ordered many weeks ago, being delivered to the shattered families in Connecticut, and I just cried.
Or course, the overwhelming question is "Why?"
I'm not sure if I believe in God. The logical side of me says that it's impossible. Still, whether it's a man with a long, white beard, or simply some inner light we all carry around inside of us...I like the thought of there being a God. I want to believe it's possible. Yet, when events like this happen, it just seems to be further proof that there is nothing but the random wickedness of man. And that brings a whole different level of sad.
It does not make any sense. It will never make any sense.
As a teacher, I am amazed, but not surprised, by the heroic acts that took place within that school. Some segments of the public often like to paint teachers as lazy, unionized hacks. The truth is that most teachers are there because helping children is what they want to do most in life. Taking care of children is instinct to them. When those teachers were tested, they took care of their children.
As a parent, I'm horrified and shaken raw. In past national tragedies, I've watched with empathy, horror, and outrage, but nothing like the feelings going through me now. It's a nightmare brought to life. That could so easily be us.
I'm also extremely grateful to have been able to cuddle with my sweet daughter all weekend. This has been a great reminder of how blessed my life is as much as anything else.
Finally, although I usually avoid politics here, I hope we learn from this. I hope we realize that our right to feel our children are safer, to not have to turn their schools into prisons, is greater than any right to fill our cabinets with a collection of fancy weaponry. This is a basic human right. I also hope we learn to take responsibility for the mental disorders that torment so many of our citizens. Those personal torments ultimately affect us all. There needs to be help for the families who need it. Most of all, I hope we take a long look in a mirror over the upcoming weeks to discover exactly what our values as Americans are, and if we've somehow gotten off track. Why are we a culture of violence? How do we feed in to it? How do we prevent it?
Hug your loved ones. Hug them tight. Fill the world with light and love the best you can.