this is who we are

I do not want to write this morning. 

How do you find the right words to say after tragedy ... after tragedy ... after tragedy? No words are sufficient. No words match the gaping wounds in the hearts of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, friends and lovers. No words can  fill up that space for them ... or for me. 

I know the trauma of hugging my son on the steps, not knowing it is the last time I will ever hear his witty banter. I know exactly what it feels like to hear the news that he is gone and crumbling into a void of screams. I know the ongoing pain of holding life together for yourself and for the survivors. Yesterday, I lived it all over again. Just like I did a week before ... and a week before that ... and a week before that. On and on. This keeps happening. 

This morning before I had even poured coffee, before I had woke fully from a restless,  achy sleep, I tapped out words on my phone. I sent words to my Senators and my Congressman. It is an empty act but I feel like it's all I've got so I will at least do this. I wrote to them to not send me back words about protecting the second amendment. I asked them not to offer thoughts and prayers without action. I asked them to be honest. 

If we are honest, we have to stand up and say that this is who we are. Hope of doing anything differently dwindled away when we did nothing after Sandy Hook took the lives of twenty so so young students and six of their teachers. If we are honest, we have to say every time that we are a country that honors guns and moneys over lives. Put the world on notice. 

Being honest hurts. Facing who we are feels the most vulnerable of all. When we take an open-hearted look at ourselves, we must choose. Do we stay the same or do we do the work it takes to be grow, to step onto a different path. We can't make that choice until we know, until we admit, until we peek inside at what compels us forward. And what if we take that long, hard look and discover greatness? Well, that's feel vulnerable too. It takes incredible courage to face the most wonderful bits of ourselves. Sometimes it feels easier to toss around in the not-good-enough. Nothing is required of us there. But greatness? Greatness calls for something more. 

I am shifting between referring to the collective and the individual with these words but it all applies. We want to make America great then we have to do the things that greatness call for. If we want to be honest with our individual selves, then we have to own up to power we have within us. The power to be great. Step up to it. There is so much more to reach for. 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— marianne willimson