It was 7:15 AM. I finished a workout, and glanced at my Facebook page for the first time today. “My heart is with Vegas.” “Vegas, I have no words.” Then, “Worst Mass Shooting in US History.” My heart raced, and full panic sat in. What in the world happened last night? And then I looked up the story on the news. I froze, horrified, shocked, and torn between my desire to feel everything in the entire world for these innocent victims and their families, and my desire to block everything out because I felt completely powerless.
I am terrified of the world we live in, and also I am not. Before I had children, I was very unsure if I could handle the emotional gamble of creating a tiny human that forevermore would hold so much of my happiness in their hands—an uncontrollable fate that shook me to my core. At the time, my world was small, but I was in control of my life, my goals, my successes, failures, and happiness.
Pre-children I lived a life of actively fighting injustices from ground zero, from working as a Victim Advocate on the front lines of some of the most horrific cases of domestic violence I could ever imagine, to watching and holding the C-Spine of a dying man as a Volunteer Firefighter. Needless to say, I am acutely aware of the sanctity of life and the propensity for both evil and good in the world. But then one day my desire for a family after meeting the love of my life overtook my fears of giving into this emotional gamble of bringing a human into this world, all the while knowing if something were to ever happen to my child, I would never be the same. In fact, I am still quite unsure if my soul could survive a loss that great.
My first lesson in my inability to control tragedy and the vulnerability of motherhood came in the form of a miscarriage. We love with all intensity, fiercely, protectively, and yet we cannot always protect. In fact, as a Mom, everyday I have to let go. I have to let go of my desire to control my children’s fate, my anxiety of the unknown, and my fear of the world we live in.
I am fairly versed in understanding a myriad of viewpoints, but senseless crimes are just that… “senseless.” Therefore, I fight my impulse to sit entranced at the news, allowing it to consume me and make me want to create a little bubble or a bunker, where I can just hold everyone I love and keep them safe. I cannot attempt to analyze THIS because it will lead me down an anxiety laden rabbit hole that I do not have the energy to crawl out of right now.
I know nothing about the shooter. Not even his name. I do not care to. I will not give this fear producing, hate-filled act legacy. In the coming days, I will painfully learn more about the victims of this hate act, learn their stories, and pay them the reverence they deserve. I will pray for their families, and I will face feeling completely powerless to their pain.
Gun Control debates will turn heated on Facebook. We live in a house divided on this subject. I am going to want to crawl under a rock, frustrated when the Facebook debates turn vicious. Can we just be civil to each other please? The world is so hurt right now. There has to be a common ground, for I know both my husband and I want the world to be a safe place for our babies, though we may differ on which policies we support to create that world.
But today, today everyone is numb, and in shock. I dropped my baby off at Mother’s Day Out, and the world is still turning. The parking lot looked a bit emptier than usual, but parents were chatting and laughing as if nothing had happened. They might not even know that THIS happened yet? Get up to go is a whirlwind morning in my home, and I barely found out about the Vegas shooting, and definitely had zero time to process anything.
I’ve seen a lot of pain, but I hold on to one truth. For every horrific evil in this world, there are ten people working their hearts off to make the world a better place. I was told this when I was working in the world of domestic violence. From what I could see, this was true. For every awful, heinous, evil act, there are countless volunteers, social workers, detectives, cops, medical workers, firefighters, good Samaritans, friends, and family working to make this survivor’s life better.
I have to believe this rings true today for Vegas too. This is how I personally prevent fear from creeping in and overtaking my motherhood journey. This is how I bring tiny humans into the world and make my heart a vulnerable open wound everyday. For, I will love as hard as I can. I will value the sanctity of human life, always knowing myself and my family are not immune to tragedy. But I will not crush out happiness by letting fear and anxiety win my day, my family, and our future. This is why I am terrified of the world we live in, and also, why I am not.
So love as hard as you can, even when you are scared. I am going to go now and squeeze some babies even harder tonight.