Imagine we had the words to describe the attack in Newtown, Connecticut. There are none – and there should not be. Imagine we knew why. Of course, we do not, though as time goes on we are overwhelmed by the need to think we do. It’s common in the face of things we do not understand. But imagine if we could have a response as extraordinary as the act itself, extraordinary in the other direction. If we had a response that accounted for the grief but also the gratitude for these young people and those who cared for them, that accounted even for the young murderer and his mother. If we counted 28 lives gone, and mourned far too much lost. And what if then, in addition to allowing the sadness to take its course – giving endless space to those directly involved so that they might find their own ways without having to be involved in our responses, without having to be concerned with our ideas, interpretations, analyses, conclusions – we made efforts to meet this terrible act with our own acts in the other direction. What if we decided that it wasn’t enough to shake our heads at the meaninglessness of it all, if we decided to make meaning wherever and whenever possible. If we all did this, made meaning each in our own ways, then we might approach – though of course, never actually come near – making the losses bearable.
g a t h e r i n g s