14 December 2013


One year ago today, the world stood in solidarity as we all experienced the horror that was the Sandy Hook Massacre.

One year ago, we struggled to find a way to express the pain and heartache that filled our hearts as the news came that twenty of the twenty-six people were kiddos.

How do we stand in the tension between horrific events such as Sandy Hook or Columbine or most recently Arapahoe High School in Centennial, CO? How do we express our heartache for tragedies that impact communities so much like our own? How do we move on from these events in a way that acknowledges what happened yet doesn't dwell in the past?

It seems like we have a tendency to sweep horrific events under the rug, to medicate them away with reality TV, sporting events, facebook, or food. We take to Twitter with posts of horror along with hashtags of solidarity. We take to Facebook with our posts about the tragedy and an analysis of why it occurred. And once we have taken our two seconds of social media silence, we are back to our posts about what food we're eating and giving our opinion about the current Twitter-argument between two celebrities. 

The thing is, tragedy doesn't end in two seconds. 

The horror doesn't dissipate in two seconds. 

It lives on in the lives of each person affected by the tragedy. It lives in the eyes and memories of each survivor. And it resurfaces each time there is another tragedy. 

Two seconds is not enough for me.

It reminds me of the Advent season that we are in. Advent is a time of waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, of sitting in the uncomfortable place of "not yet." It is about acknowledging that something or someone is missing and knowing that it is coming. 

And so, I acknowledge each person who is missing this day, who tragically lost their lives for an unknown reason. Because two seconds of silence is not enough.

In memory of the twenty-seven women and children of Sandy Hook, but most especially for the children whose faces and names will forever be in my heart.
Rachel, Lauren, Victoria, Dawn, Mary, Nancy,

Photos via CNN, collage made by blogger

11 December 2013

medicating and dashes

Why is it that we medicate the uncomfortableness? Why is that we medicate and drown, and drug instead of sitting in the awkward, and often, painful moment where every fiber in your body is telling you that something is not right? Why is it so difficult to face the fact that there is something broken in our lives?

We medicate by flipping the channel until we find a show that makes us laugh or horrified or sentimental. And the second that it is no longer giving us that "high," we flip the channel to the next "drug."

We medicate by going out every single weekend, running ourselves into the ground in order to make sure that we are doing "life" right with money and interesting hobbies and a glamorous career and a confident fashion sense and the perfect partner and the "best" kids and… When does it stop?

What has happened to quietness? To stillness? To not doing anything? To being uncomfortable? To resting?

I don't have the answers. I am caught in this cycle too. But I want out. I want to start caring about the people around me. I want to know and be known. I want to be uncomfortable at times. I want to acknowledge what is broken in my life. I want to admit that I don't have it all together, that I struggle with taking risks.

Maybe that is my whole point. Maybe what I am trying to express is that there has to be more to life than just drowning out the imperfections. 

There is this saying that on your tombstone there will be two dates on it with a dash in the middle and that the dash is our living. So, what will your "dash" look like? If the dash took on the characteristics of your living, what would it look like? Would it be long and thin? Or maybe a fat, squiggly line? Maybe a double line? Would it be a colored dash? Or a sparkly one? What about a simple black line? Whatever your living, your dash, looks like, let's not drug and drown out the entire experience. 

Just one more thought about the whole living without the medicating. I'm learning that in order to make the most of my living without medicating, I have to do less. I have to set aside time to be quiet, and still, and even be uncomfortable.

But it is worth it.

And on that note, I'm going to find some quiet.

08 December 2013

apathy about a dress and social justice

Dressember. Women a-dress-ing social justice in the 21st century.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen more recent flood of selfies, something that is not normal for me. For the entire month, I am participating in Dressember, a month of dresses in order to raise awareness and money for International Justice Mission. According to their website, IJM is a "human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression." I encourage you to check out both of the links above for more information on how to get involved.

Today, when I got up, all I wanted to do was put on a nice pair of sweats and sit in a coffee shop. I did not want to put on a dress. But then I got to thinking about it and I couldn't justify not putting on a dress. Yeah, I may not want to wear a dress but what about the 27 million people who do not want to be enslaved? They don't get a choice. They don't get the option of waking up and choosing to not be oppressed and exploited and trapped. And somehow the small act of wearing a dress when I least wanted to felt more like an empathetic act of solidarity with the 27 million. I am not trying to say that I know exactly what it's like to be a victim of slavery because I wore a dress when I didn't want to. Rather, my choice to wear a dress is in response to sitting down at the table and joining the conversation about social justice.

As I reflect on my day tonight, I am reminded of the many times when I don't want to go to the church service. It is those mornings when I just want to snuggle down under my covers that I have come to recognize as the mornings when I absolutely must get my butt in to the service. It is those moments when I am most burdened, exhausted, apathetic, and cynical that I need to be surrounded by my brothers and sisters.

I think that is similar to what I experienced today in my dress. On a day when I just wanted to slip on those comfy sweats, I needed to be surrounded by my fellow Dressember sisters and remember that ultimately Dressember isn't about me, it's about 27 million brothers and sisters who need the attention that 31 days of dresses can bring to the injustice of slavery.