Updated: Jun 30, 2022
This week my heart has been heavy. Again. Another. I try to find the balance between all the emotions that flood in, each taking a turn front an center. Again. Another. And we're going to Texas. You may not be heart-ready to read what I'm thinking today, so if you're feeling fragile or crushed in spirit just pause and come back another day or skip to the end... I think back to when it hit me about how many discarded rabbits there were posted on craigslist after Easter in Minnesota --and I wanted to stop the pet bunny abandonment cycle. Change was needed to interrupt the cycle...To stop the problem upstream rather than reacting too late when things were in motion. Sitting on my brown carpeted floor in my bedroom after many tears and a flood of emotions, I figured I shouldn't wait for the adults to figure it all out. I was so young and probably couldn't fix the entire system. But I could offer what I had. If everyone helped, I was sure we could make a difference together. Besides, kids can sometimes see things that adults somehow miss. Why not try? After all, I was nearly 8. Later that year I saw the comfort dogs in action after the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
I think back to time spent with the Newtown community, seeing first hand how families were ripped apart -- and I wanted so desperately to help. To stop the pain. To do anything. I saw how God brought people to help people and how furry friends somehow did things that humans couldn't. Change was needed to interrupt the cycle. To stop the problem upstream, rather than reacting too late when things were already set in motion, or already painfully complete.
Sitting on a park bench by a little children's bunny garden after witnessing many, many tears and a flood of emotions going from funeral to funeral in Newtown Connecticut I realized that I couldn't wait for the adults to figure it out. There was something that I could do to help.
No, I couldn't fix a broken heart. No, I couldn't fix the world. Only God could do that. But I could offer what I had: my hope, my time, and the bunnies. Maybe the adults would help me try out this idea I felt compelled to try. I was 8 1/2, wearing my church suit, and I somehow felt like I was nearly a man.
Funerals. Again. Another. Marysville. Minneapolis. Townville. Minneapolis. Crisscrossing the country. Des Moines. Minneapolis. Too many to list. Then too many funerals to go to them all. Too many...period. So many names of families torn by violence. So many times sitting down and trying to find out where that town was. It was "everytown." Again Another. Shredding. Again. Another.
Bunnies in wagons, drops of tears on their fur. Little girl snuggles and sobbing on days that are somehow sunny but the hearts are clouded with gloom and grief in a room full of flowers that were still somehow in bloom.
Again. Another. Again. Parkland.
Each time I find myself fighting the lump in my throat. Each time I fight the inner urge to vomit my true thoughts on the keyboard every time I see another photo of another child murdered, often at the hands of another young person.
I try not to post things that trigger people. I try to keep things positive.
"We need the adults to step up and fix this," my midddle-school self declared after our second trip to Florida. Over the years I've wanted to stay positive and hopeful that the adults will somehow work together and figure it out.
There are plenty of joyful celebrations we bring bunnies to...we love visiting schools and senior centers. But then Again. Another. When possible we go to silently hold sacred space for children as they grieve for other children. Space for parents and siblings and grandparents and teachers and friends all saying goodbye.
I can't explain it, but there are times we feel compelled to go. Times when we can't not go once we're invited. And once we've said yes, somehow there is a tremendous peace on those days, knowing we are headed right where we need to be for that moment, holding hands and time and space when time stands still for a family in grief. And sometimes there is a closed door and there is just as much peace. I feel blessed seeing that I have something to offer...and joy to see the precious moment when somehow it helps. I don't need to understand it all. I know just enough. And for the rest, I trust God for what can't be seen.
Now nearly 10 years of attending funerals for children, we're heading to Uvalde Texas this month. Last night I was sitting back on my brown carpeted floor in my bedroom, trying to make sense of the world. I am again resolved that the adults must figure it out. Please. Now. This cycle has gone on so long that now I am nearly 18.
I'm resolved that I'll keep doing my part, but the ADULTS around us need to do their part to fix this too. I'm hopeful that the world doesn't need to wait until I'm one too. And now we prepare to go to teacher memorials and then in August for extended visits to Uvalde Texas.
As individuals we likely can't fix what's broken. But together I trust we can. What if we all choose to offer what we have? What if everyone helped and did what they felt compelled to do?
What if all the tiny actions could change the world? I still believe that together we can make a difference.
Plus, in the hands of God our simple gifts can turn into miracles.