Are My Thoughts and Prayers Enough?

I’ve been wanting to post about Christmas, and I have a few half finished posts about Grace just sitting in the drafts box of my blog, yet I can’t quite bring myself to finish and post them.

A little over a week ago our country endured an unspeakable tragedy. One that’s been on my mind many times over the course of the last week and a half, as I’m sure it has yours. For whatever reason, I just can’t seem to move past it and move along to writing my normal family posts.

Many times this week I have prayed. I have read article after article on CNN. I’ve watched videos. I’ve stared dumbstruck at the faces of 20 beautiful children and sobbed knowing that they wouldn’t be home to open the presents under their Christmas tree; knowing their mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers, would never hug them or kiss them, or take them to the park, or tell them they loved them. I’ve looked at the teachers, the school counselor, the principal, who threw themselves in front of bullets to save their students, and I’ve thought, “Would I be that brave? Would I be that calm?” I hope so. I truly hope so.

I’ve stood in front of my own classroom, fighting back tears as we discussed our own lockdown procedure, as I explained to the kids that although I am confident nothing like that would happen in our community, we live in a world where sometimes people do terrible, terrible things, and we have to be prepared just in case. My students sat reverently, taking in my instructions, and the harsh reality of the world that we live in. One student piped up to say, “I don’t feel as safe in my school as I used to.” Me too, sweetie, me too.

I am shaken by what happened at Sandy Hook. I am heavy hearted. I am disturbed. I am sad. I am grateful it wasn’t my daughter, my step- son, my school, my community.

How easily it could have been.

I have prayed. I have read numerous well written blog posts. I have liked statuses on Facebook in support of the victims. Those in Sandy Hook are most definitely in my thoughts and prayers.

But is it enough? Are my thoughts enough? My prayers? My tears?

I’m just not sure they are.

We can’t rewind. We can’t bring those who perished a week and a half ago home to their families. We cannot take their hurt away.

What happened at Sandy Hook is a nightmare; one that’s been in the works for a while. We live in a society that glorifies violence. Where the right to own a gun-and I’m not speaking about hunting rifles and hand guns, but assault rifles and the like- weighs heavier for some people than the right to personal safety in our schools, our churches, our movie theaters. We live in a society where many kids raise themselves. Where many insurance plans don’t cover mental health and the stigma attached to getting help is so heavy, that those that need help, don’t get it.

I really think after what has happened a week and a half ago, we have to ask ourselves as a nation, are our thoughts and our prayers enough? Or is it time for action? Is it time to take a close look at mental health care in our country? Is it time to really look closely at our gun laws, at the loop holes, and true intention of the 2nd amendment? Is it really my RIGHT to own a Bushmaster semi-automatic assault riffle? Or is it my RIGHT to send my children to school feeling confident that they will be SAFE?

There are many changes that need to be made. We all need to do our part. I know what my part will be. I know the many discussions that lie ahead of my family and children about violence on t.v., on video games, in the real world. I know I need to truly do my research to understand the gun laws in my own state. I need to understand both sides of the coin to understand how and what changes really can and should be made. I plan to donate to the Brady campaign once a month. Ten dollars. It’s not much at all, but it’s something. It’s two coffees a week from Starbucks, which is a sacrifice I’ll gladly make if it means securing a safer future for my children.

I am deeply saddened by what has transpired in Connecticut a week and a half ago. My thoughts and my prayers are with the family and the community that has been affected forever changed by this tragedy. But I hope to give more than just my thoughts and my prayers. I hope that I can be a part of the change that leads our country into a safer tomorrow.

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