"Tuesday, December 18, 2012
28 of my tribe were gunned down last week- 20 of them first graders.
I'm a picture book author and illustrator and as such I've spent a good share of my professional life- the last 30 years- hanging out with first graders and I've got to admit- they fascinate me. I see them behaving beatifically sometimes, their eyes alight with joy or their faces calm in sleep and I wonder, "Are these Angels?". However, when I find them laughing at one of my silly jokes or playing a trick on me I know that I'm in the company of rascals. Other times, the haiku-like wisdom that comes tumbling from theirs mouths will floor me, and I'll think "I'm in the presence of an Elder- so wise. What happened to the 6 year old I was talking to?". And then, when I am sad and I feel the unfettered understanding in their embrace, its then that I'm quite sure that I am in the care of a Saint.
I include in the number of those counted dead the sick young man who did the shooting, because he, and all our troubled children, are in my tribe too. As painful as it is, I can not push him out. I will not. He and his family, along with all the slain and their loved ones, are in my prayers.
I very much wish to honor their passing in some way that attempts to match the loss of these innocents, an unfathomable loss for their families and for our country. I know that an effort to change things in the future- fix our mental health care system, better regulate access to these horrific weapons- is planned and I support that. Those efforts may help and that will be good. But right now, deep down, I just want to turn off the nation. I want us all to shut it down for a week in honor of the passing of these sweet children.
I regret if this post has brought you down. If you bump into me on the street and I don't quickly reply with a smile to your holiday greeting, please know that I very much appreciate your friendship, but right now, the passing of these Angel/Rascal/Elder/Saint children is on my mind.