When I was going through the more difficult periods with dealing with Post Partum Depression, I used to always imagine myself as a little toy boat out on the ocean. Big waves would come, but I would just try to keep bobbing up on the surface. Sometimes it was smooth sailing and I would coast along, sometimes I would take on water, but I would just keep up there on the surface. I would look out for little lighthouses that would keep me going. Having one good day would be a lighthouse, having a nice long laugh was a lighthouse. Depending on how I was feeling the lighthouses were little or big things. Some days I could keep going because the new shampoo I bought smelled really good. That was my lighthouse. It was during this time that I first started really trying to be mindful and grateful, even if I wasn't feeling it I would force myself to think it, to at least say it. Putting the words out there seemed like it made a little difference, even if I wasn't totally on board emotionally or mentally yet. When I would complain about things I would try to turn the complaint around. Like the other day, I was grumbling to myself about how much groceries had just cost me. The whole way pushing my full cart back to my car I was thinking about it. Like, "Man I didn't even GET that much and it cost so much! This is ridiculous!" with eye rolling and the whole nine yards. I sat in the drivers seat and was just bristling with this negativity I created. But I stopped, and instead tried to focus not on how much I had just spent, but that I was so lucky to have a family to buy groceries for. My electric bill might be crazy this month, but I'm grateful I have a house to heat. I might have just had to fork over 500 bucks to fix the car right when I'm in the middle of holiday shopping, but I am lucky to have a car in the first place, I'm lucky to have the 500 bucks to fork over.
Reading the news of the school shooting, it can't even be put into words. It feels like all the air is sucked out of my lungs, crushed, just shocked. So shocked and saddened. And so angry. Scared. Very scared. Feeling helpless that I couldn't do anything to help anyone. I found myself almost addicted to finding the latest news today, new reports, finding out more information, to maybe help myself piece together a reason. But there won't be a reason. We won't know why. Even if there was a note, an explanation, there really won't be any understanding of how someone could do that. But I felt that I couldn't look away, my anxiety building with each story, the waves growing, pulling my little boat under. How could anything positive come from something so unspeakably horrible. And then I saw the video of Robbie Parker, his 6 year old daughter Emilie was among those killed.
In his statement, he offers love and support from his family to the family of the shooter, saying "I can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you." He offers thanks for the support and love from friends, family and strangers. He describes his daughter, how she loved to draw pictures and cards for people. He continues by saying "As we move on from what happened here, what happened to so many people, let it not turn into something that defines us, let it be something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate, and be more humble people. Let us please keep the sentiments of love that we feel for our families and the compassion that we feel for others, even complete strangers, and keep them with us at all times, not just in times of sorrow and tragedy. And may we do this so we can better all of our communities, in all of our cities in all of our states, so that we can make everyone in this country feel safe."
This man, this father, should be an inspiration to all of us, and his words should resonate with everyone. In this darkest of moments for him, for his family, he can reach out with a message of compassion, of love, and of hope. I can keep my own little boat buoyed up just from this alone, I'm just blown away by it. We should focus on this message, on this incredible example of strength, in the face of that evil, he says no. Have love, have compassion, don't get pulled under by this. In this most horrible of storms, he is a lighthouse.
People have knocked me before by saying I always "love everything" and that I think everything is fabulous all the time, and you know what? I do love everything. I don't have time for negativity. Sure, things bother the hell out of me too, I've had rudeness, bad meals at restaurants, people have cut me off, all of it. I just can't waste time dwelling on it and I sure as hell don't feel the need to put more negativity out into the world. I'm a little lighthouse all my own, and my light is brighter after seeing Robbie Parker. He's truly incredible. And when I think about this tragedy I am going to think about what he said. At least in my own little corner of the world my lighthouse will send out love, compassion, and support. You never know whose boat might need it out there.