I have wished more than once in the past week that we were one of the those churches that gathered and burned candles and prayed. I've wanted that feeling of quiet and community solidarity. I've wanted to mourn the loss of those little lives; to feel the collective grief of a nation that must decide if such a thing will cause us to move forward with faith or with fear.
The little LDS girl killed in Connecticut is the niece of an acquaintance. The connection makes grief in this situation so much more poignant.
Much will be said in the coming weeks and months about gun control. The societal contract. Violent video games. Arming teachers. Mental health support. And so on and so on. At the end of the day I'm not at all certain that anything will be achieved. Or that whatever security measures we put into place will make any difference. Don't get me wrong; I think we should try. But if history teaches us anything, it is that a very small group of people who crave money or power or chaos usually get what they want. Because they want these things--the ugliest treasures of a fallen world--more than they want to live in harmony with their neighbors. Other people who make these things happen are desperate. Desperately lonely. Or poor. Or hungry. Or angry. This is the flip side of agency in the eternal scheme of things. It is the flip side of freedom in the political scheme of things.
I've felt some real despair this weekend. And then yesterday I felt the stupor lift.
I did a spontaneous thing for somebody outside my family. It was a thing I don't think the family would have been able to do for themselves. Doing this thing came at a sacrifice of time and money. And it made me so happy.
Then today I did it again. The sacrifice of time and money was much smaller but the effect might have been just as great. That made me happy too.
So happy. And I finally feel the Christmas spirit that has sadly eluded me this weekend.
I often see needs and think, "wouldn't it be nice if I . . ." and then forget or overlook or don't do it. But I think I have new resolve to act. To truly notice my brothers and sisters. To recognize that I've made covenants that require my stewardship extend to ALL my brothers and sisters, wherever they may be. I know I can't do very much. But I also think that this deep sorrow I feel this week for the weakness in mankind will be eased if I can look more deeply for the beauty and power and goodness in individuals. If I can work harder to be the change I want to see. I just want so badly to be good, but mostly to do good.
I told Plantboy that I'm think philanthropy might be the career for me. I asked him, rather tongue-in-cheek of course, if he would seriously think about making a load of money so that I might give it away.