“After Sandy Hook”

A friend from college, Matt Mason, posted this piece on his facebook page today.  He graciously allowed me to share the poem here.

This piece is a raw, heartfelt response to yet another mass shooting in America that happened in Florida.  Remembering back to 2012…Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 20 six and seven year old children were shot to death.  What’s happened since?  What has changed?

“After Sandy Hook” (a poem)

After Sandy Hook,
they placed little bodies
under mounds in the earth
like a ritual
from Homer
but was, really, only more funerals.

After Sandy Hook, we looked
for America
to emerge as something better.
It rained.
Sun.
Days had the audacity
to tick and tock along.

After Sandy Hook, parents grieved
while strangers put flowers and stuffed animals on their children’s graves,
and actual human beings
called them fake, vomited curses into phones at them, willingly
became the monsters who live under beds.

After Sandy Hook, Wayne LaPierre lamented
how if there’s no Good Guy
with a Gun to fight the Bad Guy with a Gun
then he’s only sold one gun.

And after Sandy Hook, America
bought guns.
Bought guns.
Bought guns.
Bought guns.

After Sandy Hook,
what was the point?
After Sandy Hook,
we saw the worst
humanity could dish out—
That’s what we thought, at least,
and when nothing changed,
we understood
we had reached somewhere worse.

After Sandy Hook,
we surrendered, we went through
the motions, but, come on,
we saw ourselves
for the shit we are, mirrored
in the shit standing as our representation.

After Sandy Hook, our heads
couldn’t drop the first grader’s words,
Mommy, I’m okay,
but all my friends are dead,
after Sandy Hook,
we could not forget the teacher who rushed to lock her classroom door
who never reached it,
the other teacher’s body on top of a six year-old’s body to save him.
But he died, too.

After Sandy Hook, poets waited
to see what grows from such small graves.
They’re still waiting.

And after Sandy Hook, America
bought guns.

Matt Mason is the Executive Director at Nebraska Writers Collective, and lives in Omaha.

If you’d like to contact Matt, you can reach him via email: mtmason@gmail.com

 

 

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Another Take: Half Full

The cross is the ultimate symbol of “half full.” I’m sure this idea isn’t original, but it’s so powerful, it’s worth repeating and repeating and repeating again.

The cross used to crucify is used as the ultimate symbol of love.  It represents the ultimate sacrifice and expression of love.

Positive wins over pessimism. Light conquers darkness. Good is stronger than evil.

In difficult times, maintain strength of spirit and persevere. You can endure and reach a better place, regardless of your struggle.

Love wins. 
PERSEVERE.

Good.

My Stove

The stove, metaphor for my life.

Four burners equals four priorities:

Children, wife, work. Wait, that’s only three? The fourth burner is for everything else: my elderly parents, the Lions club I serve community thru, my extended family, my friends.

Sometimes one of the first three get moved off, but I try not to let that happen. When I die I don’t want to regret short-changing those I’m most responsible to.

God and faith are the fuel for that stove, the natural gas that keeps me going.

Take care of your stove.

Ignatian Prayer, Hearts on Fire

Ignatius developed and taught his friends to examine themselves, their actions, and intentions, through prayer.

The Spiritual Exercises, The Examen, both came from the Ignatian approach to prayer.

Following is from a "Lunchtime Examen" I found on an Ignatian Spirituality site. It sums up things nicely, step by step.

The process is the same each day. The effect is timeless. The effect is GOOD. Give it a try.

It’s everybody’s business…

At the end of the day, it's everybody's business how the company or organization folks work for, work on, work with, is doing.

Often, especially in larger organizations, work is compartmentalized, departmentalized, specialized. That's understandable. That's fine. There's expertise to capitalize on and efficiency to be gained with this structure, this strategy.

But just because you have a specialty, doesn't mean you shouldn't care or even have some say beyond your desk or door. I'd suggest it's healthy for an organization to foster an environ that affords some opportunity to share perspective outside any given area of focus.

In fact, it's a very good idea to think about the bigger picture in your work.

You never know. Some good questions often result from some fresh thinking. And if nothing else, opening up the discussion often creates new energy and excitement that might have otherwise stalled out.

It's everyone's business to make things better.

Chill

This was the view I had recently. It was a 30-Hour Retreat. We got up early, almost like a work day to get there.

It's good to do for mind, body, and soul. Regularly. For your own well-being, and for others.

When you allow yourself to chill, it means taking pause, a bit of emotional and spiritual detente, giving your engine time to spool down from breakneck speed.

Chill. Out. GOOD.

NEVER SUICIDE!  NEVER GIVE UP – EVER.

News of Chester Bennington’s suicide has me slowly shaking my head in frustration. The Linkin Park frontman left the world far too early, taking his own life at age 41. 

“Another one gone”, I can only think.

His passing marks the latest of several public faces that have meant so much to so many through their lives and art. And then each decided to end end it, check out, commit suicide.

Ronnie Montrose. Robin Williams. Chris Cornell. And now Chester Bennington. 

So very sad, for sure. But SO frustrating, too.  

These posts from twitter give some sense of the tragedy of suicide. In this case they’re about Bennington (mostly), but the themes of darkness and pain and resulting loss are universal.

Famous or not, EVERY life matters. 

No one should give up on hope, no one should give up on life.  

No matter how dark it is, there is light out there for you.  

Say No to the pain, don’t let it have the last word. Don’t let the anxiety and depression win.  

Stay in the fight.  Accept, and transcend, and KEEP GOING.



Finally, put this number in your phone. I just did. 

You never know when you might change someone’s life, by saving it.

NEVER SUICIDE. NEVER GIVE UP.