Just as a warning, this post is not very academic in nature. It is a way to help myself come to grips with what can not and most likely will never be understood. I am an educator, I am a parent, I am a human with opinions, thoughts, and beliefs. You may not agree with me and that is OK. I just ask that you allow me a minute to persuade you to not allow these lives to have been for naught.
I am not going to rehash the event. I can’t. I have had a very difficult time attempting to process the information presented to us over the past few days. I am not going to attempt to place reasoning behind the event. There is none that I can see. Quite frankly, I have not been OK for a few days. I have felt panic, sadness, anxiety just to name a few.
I was unsure of how to proceed at work, at home, with my kids. I felt guilty for feeling this way when my children (all 5 of them) were sitting here in my living room laughing and playing a new game, listening to Christmas carols, and eating popcorn. Why should I be allowed to be worried or upset? Because I am a mom and a teacher and we worry all the time. We worry about our own kids, about the children we grow to love each year, about the children we don’t even know. My life is consumed by children and I would not have it any other way. Teaching is a calling as much as it is a profession. Those who do it best do it with their whole heart and soul. It is draining, emotional, rewarding, and joyful at turns.
Thankfully, I was reminded through my own children and a lesson through our church sermon today that even in the darkest of times, joy exists. You may need to look a little harder to find it. It may not make you burst out in laughter, but it is there and it will make you smile when you least expect to. I spent the weekend avoiding the news, the Internet, twitter, and facebook as much as possible. I am so glad I did. It forced me to disconnect, slow down and be aware of all of the joy in my life. The laughter of my kids, the look on their faces when they saw the tree light up, the sound of them singing carols, even the arguing over who’s turn it was all of these things brought a sense of normalcy to my chaotic soul.
My challenge to all of you is to find the joy in each day. Find one thing that makes you smile and treasure it. Be the joy for someone in your life. Tell a joke, smile, give a hug, lend an ear, be present and brighten the day for someone. Live a life with the joy of a 6 or 7 year old. The way my 5 year old looks at life is with wonder, excitement, pure raw emotion, unwavering faith, and abounding love. Live life through the eyes of a child. That is how I will honor the babies and teachers whose lives have been lost. A life lived not with anger or fear, hatred or anxiety, but with love and joy, compassion and wonder.