This feeling

note: I’m not sure how to tackle such a visual prompt except that I read it as dark. And then I saw the tiny understated plea for help in the lower right corner.

It’s a heavy, dark day. I woke up just after three and saw the news – gunman killed 20 people, injured 100. I was stunned. I had no words. And then I woke up again a couple of hours later and it was twice as bad (can such an awful thing become proportionately awful to anything more beyond awful?). And it’s not done. Last count was 59 dead, hundreds injured. And your “cars kill people too, do you want to take away my car?” argument is meaningless. Because somewhere between “take away all the guns” and “take away all the cars” there are lives at stake. Lives already lost. Hearts bleeding. Hearts left behind broken. The man who threw his body over two women and took their bullets. Saving them. Losing himself. Our cousin’s daughter and her husband running to hide behind a tractor-trailer. Then scaling a fence. Then, with strangers now bonded in a blend of terror and carnage I cannot wrap my head around, breaking a window of a nearby building in order to seek cover from the rapid spitfire of bullets raining down.

There are answers to be found if we could just loosen our heels from the too-bloody battle ground long enough to relax our grip on the thick rough bristles of that tug-of-war rope we feel belongs all the way to the very end of our “side,” and start somewhere. Maybe by calmly, gently working our way into the middle where we might be able to see clearly at least how to enforce the laws we have, keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and for a minute or two quietly and rationally entertain the thought of whether or not it is absolutely necessary to have silencers and automatic weapons that will mercilessly and senselessly snuff out the lives of so many souls in just a matter of seconds.

But not until after we send help. Send prayers. Give blood (if we can). Let our too-oft wounded hearts go out to those who are terrified, traumatized, wounded, grieving. Lift where we stand in gentle words and deeds. Dig deeper for patience and forgiveness and kindness. Dare hope for help and light in a darkened world.

[Day 176 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]