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All The More Reason to Love

Maybe it wasn’t the right time to talk about terrorism–to have to tell her what “mass shooting” means because I couldn’t turn off the radio quick enough on the way to the last ballet recital of the season. But she heard it–“mass shooting at a gay nightclub”–and what followed was a talk we’ve never had, a talk I’ve been pushing off because there never seems a good time to tell your child that the accepting loving world we lay out for her has holes and that those holes can involve a gunman opening fire in a public place where people are targeted for being different.

But it’s always a good time to talk about love. So on the 20-minute drive to her recital, we did. And it all fell out–the words I thought I’d need days to carefully plan in advance.

Gay. Skin color. Different. Hate. Terror. Ignorance. Guns. Sadness. All the more reason for love. 

“That’s why we never stop loving. Why we celebrate and accept people for being who they are. And when we hear sad things like this, it just reminds us how important it is to be love. People need our love.”

I checked the rear view mirror for her cues–for signs of discomfort or fear or confusion, but all I saw was love. A little girl in a purple tutu and a tight ballet bun, ready to dance.

She wasn’t nervous like I expected her to be when I dropped her off backstage. And with a kiss on the top of her head, I sent her off to dance.

The concert began with a moment of silence for the lives lost in Orlando, a prequel to the national moment of silence that would follow an hour later when the recital would be underway. And I thought it perfectly appropriate–that while hundreds of thousands of people across the nation quietly remembered this tragic event, there was a stage in Florida where young people continued to dance.

How I wish I could protect my children from the hurts of the world, to shelter them from heartache and hate and stories of broken people. But I never want that wish to shelter and protect to paralyze me from speaking up about things that matter. I want them to know the urgency behind the fact that people need our love–to know that it’s taken years of fighting for it for so many groups of people, and that we always, always, always join the fight for love.

Today, I share the sadness that belongs to all of us as well as the responsibility to live, talk about, model and teach inclusive, limitless, everlasting love.
In these moments of silence, we continue to dance.

 

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  1. Sharlene MENARD says:

    I know this feeling all too well. It’s one of those ‘firsts’ that I hoped I would not have to do before the age of 9.
    We live in Paris, France and so I had to break that innocence in January last year after the events at the newspaper. Then I had to do it again in November after everything .
    Then I had to reassure a 10 year old that went to a stadium on Friday to see the Euro opening that there would be security there to prevent anything from happening.

    What a world we live in, I’ve seen the beauty of his innocence reign supreme in that in amidst of all this, he still talks of hope and love.

    • Oh, Sharlene. The last words of this: “the beauty of his innocence reign supreme…in the midst of all this, he still talks of hope and love.” Amen, amen, amen, amen.

  2. I understand your thoughts about how to explain the world’s cruelty to your darling ballerina. When I was young the assassination of our President knocked me down, then Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Every generation, as the Bible clearly shows, has faced madness. It is up to those of us who love to keep on loving so that light overcomes dark.

  3. Kelle….
    Yesterday’s mass shooting, yesterday’s tragedy, yesterday’s terrorist attack really hit home for me. Because I reside in Orlando, Florida? No, I live thousands of miles away from where everything happened. Because I have children who I had to tell about the meanness in this world and express the message of love? Thank goodness, no. But because of where that mass shooting took place…. A gay nightclub. But because of who that tragedy targeted…. Homosexuals. But because my dearest, closest, most faithful, longtime friends, S and P, are a lesbian couple. Those were “their people”, if you do not mind me phrasing it like that. What if it had been S and P? What if {just like that, because of hatred and prejudice} I lost my friends? The victims were gays, lesbians, homosexuals, members of the LGBT community…. They were *human beings*…. Who are still not accepted as such…. In 20-freakin’-16. It is so sad…. To quote The Beatles…. All you need is love; All you need is love; All you need is love, love; Love is all you need. {That song has been in my head all morning long…. Which is befitting, I think….} :-(
    “Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive”, Raelyn

  4. Kelle,
    I was the mom of 3 young children at the time of 9-11. I’ll never forget the feeling of never wanting them to know of such evil in this world — such hatred. It was almost impossible to be on any TV channel without seeing the horrible footage of the Twin Towers falling to the ground. So we just never turned the TV off and just enjoyed remaining in the innocence of September. They are all teenagers now and unfortunately, this is the world they know and it gets more violent every year. It’s so sad!

    I pray all the children can just dance!

  5. Sadly I’ve had this conversation with my now 16-year-old-son many times over his lifetime. Too many times. This time was harder. This time he has 16-year-old opinions of his own. This time he’s not passively absorbing comfort from his parents, but actively forming and communicating his own thoughts and opinions. This time we share the opinion of love and kindness, but then the opinion part ways. His thoughts on freedom, guns, actions go one way and mine go another. It’s hard. Letting your children grow is hard.

  6. I will forever be grateful for Mr Roger’s Mom. When he shared her advice to always look for the helpers. The ones doing good when bad things happen. Such a strong and loving reminder for any mom needing to come up with soothing words and visualizations to counter the terror shown on TV and in magazines in the supermarket. My sons were in elementary school when 9/11 happened, and then there was Sandy Hook- just towns away from our town in CT. A friend from highschool was on the second plane with his wife and little girl, and even I , as an adult need to repeat those words Mr Roger’s shared with the world.

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