The past few weeks have been full of such emotionally charged moments that it sometimes feels hard to breathe.
Orlando. The sheer mention is a punch to the gut. I am at once full of rage and the need to scream and rail at the sky, but also to weep and hug my friends and family tight, especially those who are LGBTQ, and never let go.
But it goes beyond that. I can’t shake memories of Sandy Hook. In an instant, it is once again crawling on my skin, making my stomach writhe and my hands tremble.
In these few weeks I’ve also watched as my community back home reels from the devastating and unexpected death of a middle schooler, the child of someone I’ve known since I was two years old.
The darkness and pain is heavy and yet…
In those same weeks I have seen beauty beyond beauty.
I watched my five year old and her friends beaming with pride and love for teachers who have provided more inspiration, care and heart than I could ever have hoped for. We wept at saying goodbye to them, but those teachers are such a reminder of the good that is in the world.
I felt heart-swelling pride as my daughter chose to donate her birthday and Christmas money to the foundation her assistant principal established for his young son, a child who became an angel much too soon. She did not hesitate for an instant, knowing that she could never think of a better way to spend those precious dollars.
Yesterday, I watched hundreds of kids come together at my older children’s school for a day that celebrated creativity and perseverance and being a force of good in the world. I had the great honor to listen to and be the guide for the day for author Paul Reynolds who reminded them (and me) how powerful their words could be and how their creativity can change the world. Be the light.
And so today, as I feel the struggle inside between the overwhelming darkness and the twinkling possibility of the light, I choose the light. I choose to use my energy and creative spirit to fight against the night, to continue to write stories and words that inspire good, to use the power of my words to bring change. I commit to doing something, to creating opportunities for children to feel empowered and encouraged and understood. Every child must feel like they belong.
And so, I give my heart one more hug, one more moment to dwell on the sadness and pain and then I will pick up my pen. I will make those first scratches on the blank page. And those words will have the chance to help save the world.