May 24th, 2022 many children woke up to go to school and learn just like any normal day. They put on their backpacks, grabbed their lunch boxes, and headed out the door to the bus stop or out to the car for their parents to drop them off. For nineteen children and two teachers in the city of Uvalde, Texas, they went off to school never suspecting what would happen. During these times of tragedy, we as a nation and as a community tend to sit at this scene of horror and ask the questions, “What do we do with this? How do we reach out and help?” But we often come up short when we try to answer these questions. The sheer horror of an act of violence of this degree tends to paralyze us from doing anything. Because of this horror we tend to get highly emotional and start to fight with each other because we think that we can offer a solution to prevent something like this from happening again. But I’d like to offer a challenge to each and every one of us. Instead of fighting with each other about what happened, how about we simply be present, be available, and be kind?
Let’s be honest with ourselves and each other. During times like these all of us what to jump in and do something. We want to change the fact that lives were lost or homes destroyed, and reverse things back to the way they were before the carnage occurred. We want to stop these terrible things from happening again. As a result, we tend to get lost in our emotions and argue with each other about what would be a viable solution to prevent the violence or even reach out to the victims of the violence. But does this emotionalism really help anyone? I think we can safely say that, no, it does not. Instead of arguing with each other or jumping into action without thinking, what if we were to simply be there for these hurting families? We can’t offer any answers to the many questions that are swirling around in all of our heads about what to do or not to do in this situation. It is during times like this, that simply being physically present can be very healing in and of itself. Showing the victims of this violence that we as a neighborhood, community, and nation are here for them may be more healing than we realize.
I think we can all say that healing from a tragedy of this magnitude is an active process. There are needs that must be met, and some of these needs can only be met by certain people. This may require each and every one of us to step up to the plate and being willing to offer something to alleviate suffering and pain. We must be available and be ready when those needs are brought to awareness. Sometimes even asking the question of, “What is needed at this time?” can actually bring targeted awareness to specific needs that must be met sooner rather than later. I think we all know that we can’t eliminate the pain that our neighbors are feeling or experiencing entirely, but we can do something to at least speed up the healing process.
Never ever underestimate the power of a kind word or deed. Many times, we tend to disregard small acts because they don’t impact that many people. I would beg to differ. Small acts of kindness can set off a chain reaction that could change lives entirely. A kind word can help lift people’s spirits during a crisis. A kind action like taking a friend to coffee, can show that we care when they are struggling and provide them with a healing presence. Making a point to be kind during situations like the one in Uvalde can bring healing in its most powerful form. It shows that there are still good people in this world who are willing to do the right thing and value human beings.
It is during times of tragedy that we must show that are a unified community that will be there for those who are impacted. This is a challenge due to the number of emotions that people are feeling or struggling with. The pain and grief that we feel right now is very, very real. The shock and horror that we feel is also very real and we can’t deny that something needs to be done. But being willing to sit with our neighbors, and reach out a kind, loving hand during their time of mourning and pain, can provide something that people need desperately. That is to know that they are loved, valued, and seen.