Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Words

I think I've commented on a handful of your blogs that I just don't know what to say. I've commented to myself, a hundred times, as to whether or not I should say anything at all. I suppose I still haven't reached a conclusion. While I'm not one who can ignore feelings, who can pretend like her heart doesn't feel as though it weighs two hundred pounds, I also don't want to be disrespectful. In my mind, I don't want to make this tragedy my tragedy.

But it is. It's ours. It's the news we wake up to in the morning and the tears we sleep with at night. It's the shattering of our realities, of our comfort and safe places. And whether now or down the road, it is a part of the way we see life.

In the Spring of 1999, I was sitting in a college classroom when news of the Columbine High School Tragedy came in. It was a Philosophy course, which seemed more ironic then than it does now. The classroom I was in, immersed in higher learning and the smell of old linoleum, was merely an hour's drive from the high school where twelve students and one teacher were killed that day. We turned on the television in the classroom, and watched the news. When class was over, no one moved. Our professor, doing her best counselor impression, asked us if we wanted to talk about it. Thirty-seven students sat in that classroom with nothing to say.

In the hours and days that would follow, it became clear: safety was relative. And that's not something a college student worries about. We spent days in class and nights in groups, the worries there but so very disconnected, generally, from anything life-altering. From anything evil. Eight years later, I still remember that feeling of a changed reality. And still, I cannot begin to imagine what the Virginia Tech students, faculty, and their families are feeling today.

This morning, while attempting to get myself back into the land of higher learning, I had a meeting at a local college with a department dean. It was, of course, scheduled a week ago but I know better than to think I wasn't there for a reason today. So there on a bench, outside a building in which I received most of my undergraduate education, in the drizzling rain and fog, I said a prayer. A lot of prayers.

11 comments:

Nicole said...

Well written. Prayer is a great thing in my opinion and much needed right now.

e.b. said...

Right before my eyes closed for the night last night I said one as well. To be honest it was the first time I can recall saying one in a long time.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The enormity of this is overwhelming and my heart breaks for everyone involved and for their circles anf family and friends. And the circles are larger than I had realised.

I think you've helped me make a decision (a small one but important to me) in your comment about taking on the tragedy as our own.

Sempre Libera said...

Well said.

Sizzle said...

prayer is good.

GirlGoyle said...

I don't want to make this a political issue however it is a social one. It's a social one because it involves us all. There is not one reason I can think of that this student (or any other) should have had such easy access to weapons. No reason at all. I realize that the 1st amendment has been subject of countless discussions and I totally agree that we should all have a right to protect ourselves...well times have changed, people have changed, situations have changed. This isn't the wild west anymore. If you don't have a valid purpose for a gun, you shouldn't have access to one. It's as simple as that. I'm going to school to be a better person. To become a contributor to society. I don't want to have to watch my back. If I wanted to be dodging bullets I'd enlist.

Josh said...

Terrible... such a waste. But so hard to prevent.

Bre said...

I think the problem is that there just aren't words at all for this type of grief. And the only ones that can be of any help to anyone are the prayers we can offer for them.

Orhan Kahn said...

Prayer is definitely good.

Backofpack said...

It is our tragedy - it is our nation's tragedy. It is our children's tragedy. How do I explain to my optimistic, eager and idealistic sons how this came to be? Do I even know? How did our world turn into this? And the parents. The young parents in the classes I teach, they worry, they wonder. They worry that if they make a mis-step in their parenting it will be their child behind the trigger. They worry that if they do everything perfectly, it will be their child who will be killed. There is no explanation or ratiionalization. Offering our prayers, our tears, our thoughts will help, but mostly what will help is finding a way to change the world - even if it is our little corner.

Danielle said...

It's so unreal...I was disconnected from news till my mom sis and I were having pizza at a place that had it on, and at first we weren't understanding it was new and real...we had to read it all as the sound was off but just tragic...