I’m sure this will go down in history as one of those events where people will ask, “do you remember where you were when you heard about the Sandyhook shooting?” At least that is how I feel about it. It feels like one of those definitive moments in our country’s history. What will we do now to ensure a tragedy of this nature doesn’t occur again? But, this is not a post about gun control or an open conversation about mental illness. This is quite literally a pulling from my heart to DO SOMETHING in the wake of such a grievous loss for the families, the school, and the community of Newtown, CT.
Friday, December 14, 2012: It’s going to be a busy day in my world. Bryan and I are filming a segment of a show we are producing in the morning, next, pick up Lily and her good friend from school a little early and then drive a couple of hours up the road to The Holiday of Lights Festival at Gilroy Gardens (an amusement park in Gilroy, CA.)
During the production portion of the morning, I periodically peek at my smartphone and see some comments about devastation, broken hearts, tragedy. The comments aren’t giving me a complete picture of what was happening, but I am starting to piece together that there had been a shooting at a school. That is horrible, not again. But what can I do?
Next, a business partner calls to update me on a meeting he had just taken. First thing he asks is if I have heard about the shooting at the school in CT. Connecticut? My home state. I felt something stir inside. It is creepy no matter where an event like this takes place, but something about it being close to ‘home,’ brings it — well, ‘close to home.’ Then, the next jab…”it was at an elementary school, there were kindergarteners killed.” [Just writing this sentence makes me cry all over again.] How can this be? It doesn’t compute in my brain. My breath is taken away and I literally don’t know what to say or how to process this information. I have a 7-year old. I don’t know what to say. This is heinous, atrocious, should not be a possibility in our world, but what can I do?
The final piece of the puzzle comes for me as I drive to gather the kids from school. At stop signs I scroll through the headlines to pick up more information. I read some details, and again my heart nearly stops. Newtown, CT. NEWTOWN, CT! This is just miles from my own hometown. My best friend from college comes from Newtown. HER best friend from High School is still there, and … OH NO, her son is six-years-old! Oh, Dear God, PLEASE do not let John be among the victims. I pull the car to the side and immediately dial my friend. As I attempt to leave a message I am crying, I cannot get the words out.
I am relieved when my friend dials me back quickly. I don’t have to wait to find out that John was safe at a different elementary school in the town. But something about those moments of wondering whether that little boy that I held as a baby had been shot reached me at a deep level. And I am grateful for that. I realize later as I am driving to the amusement park (with my very alive child and her very alive friend,) that it IS AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE that I keep finding myself with tears in my eyes and a pit in my stomach. Yes, it is appropriate that I FEEL at this level when a tragedy of this magnitude befalls a community in my world. Anywhere in my world. But what can I do?
As we drive, it occurs to me that what I can do is to try to gather forces to be a stand for love and for healing and for support and compassion. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in the power of joined consciousness to create an energetic movement in the physical world. I personally do not have the kind of reach that could gain a critical mass to support this idea, but I am blessed that I have been in the company of incredible, powerful women in the online community that, together, MAY be able to create that kind of following.
And here it is born. The vision to use social media and online influence to gather a million+ people to offer up a 5-minute vigil of prayer (or silence, or a vibration of love,) for ALL of the people affected by the devastating events on the morning of the 14th. And here it is that the amazing group that will say YES to help gather a light brigade begins to come together.
Robin O’Bryant, of Robin’s Chicks and author of the amazing Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves was the first to come on board. Since then, the posse has grown. Jessica Bern of Bern This; Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential; Ann Imig of Ann’s Rants and founder of founder of Listen to Your Mother; Heather Westberg King of The Extraordinary Ordinary; and Yuliya Patsay of She Suggests are all mobilizing toward the vision. The vision is to take a stand, take a few minutes, be prayerful and maybe, just MAYBE, with enough people adding their love to the mix — maybe the people that have been left with grief beyond comprehension, will feel a moment of peace, also beyond comprehension.
We invite you to join us on Facebook on A Virtual Prayer Vigil for Sandyhook Survivors and share this vision with your own communities.
Or, simply put this on your calendar: 5 minutes beginning at 9:36 a.m. EST on Friday, December 21, 2012.