When the Darkness Comes to Your Town

Action & Reaction lo res

Action and Reaction; 2017; 15.5″ x 19.5″; acrylic & watercolor. 

Last week on Wednesday, my two high school kids and my middle-schooler were on lock-down due to a teenager who shot another youth between the two buildings. Then, my middle-schooler was again on lock-down two days later as a precautionary measure due to rumors that a classmate was planning a shooting at her school. These events nipped at the heels of two others in our district within the last month: a young person shot another during the lunch hour across the street from a nearby high school,  and a middle schooler threatened to kill classmates at his own school.

Kids shooting kids, kids threatening to shoot kids.

It’s not like I live in the inner city of Chicago or LA. We live in a small city in Colorado.

My nerves feel a bit taut.

But, which is more indicative of the times: these events swirling relentlessly around my kids, or their blase response?  They seem to shrug it off as just part of the daily landscape.

Simultaneously, I’ve been dealing with the public-at-large more than usual lately. My family has been selling my Grandma’s estate items through Craigslist and other sites. Strange how a rude on-line response from a stranger I will never meet can crawl under my skin and cause low-level unease for days. Or how the warmth lingers after a buyer shows up and I discover she is an old friend I haven’t seen for more than a decade.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the chain reactions of words, interaction, events… the ripples we send out into the universe with something as simple as one kind or unkind word…

I admit I was tempted to pick up my daughter early from school last week to ease my anxiety. But then a familiar stubbornness kicked in, deep in my soul, the determination that my children, my family, myself – we must be the light. If the world grows darker, we must shine brighter.

I’ve been pondering the power I possess, we each possess, and must intentionally wield, to change the tide… starting at the most minute level.

6 thoughts on “When the Darkness Comes to Your Town

  1. My dearest Colleen, we are most definitively living in dark times and sending ripples of light and kindness [or goodness as I like to say it – for some reason “good” is demonized or brushed off like something ‘passé’], is more essential than ever. I am grateful for knowing you and keep shinning – you and your family. Sending my love.

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