Fighting the Darkness: In Memoriam of the Batman Shooting Victims

Like the rest of the country, I was shocked and disheartened this morning as I heard the news of the “Batman Shooting” in Aurora, Colorado. As news commentators cry, “What is this world coming to?” and “How did this happen?”, I am asking myself another question: What kind of childhood will my children remember?

“The youngest reported victim is a 3-month-old, who is said to be doing fine at University Hospital, where 20 patients, including nine in critical condition, are being treated. Another victim is a six-year-old being treated at Children’s Hospital, where a total of six victims were taken. Their condition wasn’t known. Victims were rushed to six area hospitals overall.” ~CBS News

Retro Wishes, Childhood Dreams

“Be home before the streetlights come on,” was the summertime rule in my house. Growing up in the small town of Plymouth, Michigan, during the 80’s was a real-life Sandlot experience. Between the large park around the block, the gas station with the Slurpee machine down the street, and the “downtown” movie theater only a quick bike ride away, my friends and I spent the bulk of our summers outside.  We rode bikes, climbed trees, flew kites, and built lemonade stands. Our parents knew that if we weren’t swimming in Jamie’s pool, we were probably in our tree forts in the park. We didn’t have cell phones or Ipods; we were blissfully entertained by the song of chirping crickets, the light show of dancing fireflies, and the tinkling sounds of the ice cream truck.

A movie theater shooting wasn’t even a figment of my imagination. 

Today, not only do I mourn the loss of innocent life in a Colorado theater, but also the loss of the childhood innocence of a generation. Our children are growing up with the morbid possibility of school shootings, theater massacres, and terrorist bombings. The TV violence of the 80’s has become real-life breaking news. My heart is heavy.

Fighting the Darkness

It’s time for us to stand up for the future of our children, to champion the cause of preserving the innocence of childhood. Our country is not lost; there are still families who eat around a table, children who play in parks, and parents who diligently teach ethics and morals. We have not slipped into the reckless abandon of a lawless society; rather, we have parents, teachers, leaders, and civil servants who protect order and preserve peace.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon

It is the duty of us all to promote courage within our society. We all have influence. I influence people you will never meet and vice versa. It is our civil responsibility to fight the darkness that is slowly descending upon our nation. Our children depend on us to preserve their childhood. Their childhood memories are weighed in the balance of our willingness to stand up for what is right. The cause of morality needs champions.

There isn’t enough darkness in all the world to snuff out the light of one little candle. ~Robert Alden

Morality Rises

This weekend, rather than going to see a movie or a ballgame, why not spend time with your family. Hug them a little tighter, tell them a story of courage in the face of fear, show them a memory of your own retro childhood. Be a child’s hero this weekend. Fly a kite, build a fort, read a book. Let’s make morality rise in our country once again.

The families of the Batman shooting victims are in my prayers. 

Objects in the Mirror

Due to my car accident in January, I have been avoiding driving. My husband would argue that this is a classic case of my bad diving habits catching up to me, but I choose to believe it is in direct correlation to my recent accident and the ensuing, lingering injury. When I do drive, I’m overly conscious of cars entering my lane, misused (or unused) blinkers, speeding summer vacationers (living in Florida isn’t always fun), and inanimate objects on missions to collide with my freshly repaired vehicle.

While sitting at a red light on my way to work minding my own business, I looked in my side mirror to see a barely-legal brunette applying what looked to be a second coat of mascara on her already made up face. “As long as she is behind me” used to be a valid argument… that is until a Toyota 4-runner rear T-boned me in the Target parking lot. She reached for eye liner, causing the wariness and anxiety to exponentially grow in my chest. Once again, I looked closer at the mirror and saw “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Surprisingly, I smiled.

No longer was I anxiously watching a twenty-something apply another coat of makeup; I was mentally transported to a Father’s Day several years ago. Father’s Days are never good days for me. Long story short, my Dad lost his battle with cancer in 2003. On that particular rainy evening, I was sitting at a stoplight, on my way get a much-needed cup of coffee at my favorite Starbucks, when a quick glance into my side mirror changed my perspective forever.

A beautiful rainbow was suspended above the saying, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” 

Rainbows echo promises. Not only promises of Biblical proportions, but also reaffirming, stabilizing promises of new days, ends of tunnels, and smiles after tears. That night while sitting at a stoplight I was reminded that my Dad was just a whisper away, that one day I’d see him again… on a day that was much “closer than it appeared.” You may think it is a stretch, but I was encouraged. Because of that encouragement long ago, I was blessed today.

Taking it a Step Further

It’s the little things in life, isn’t it? The little reminders of a blessing discovered, a smile given, a dream realized. Don’t ever forget to look in the mirror of life; not just to see your reflection, but to reflect upon what has gone before. My past has made me who I am today. The battles fought and won have made me a stronger person. The people I’ve “lost” along the way will one day be found again in my home beyond the sky. The broken hearts, the broken dreams, and the broken promises have only served to mold a masterful collage, more beautiful from its healing than a pristine, undamaged, un-characterized whole. I wouldn’t change a thing.

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history it becomes even more beautiful.
Barbara Bloom

What in your mirror is closer than it appears?

National Coffee Day? Hello, Gorgeous!

Evidently, Dunkin’ Donuts and Career Builder are teaming up to inform me that my addiction to coffee came with my career choice. According to a recent survey, the top ten professions likely to “need coffee to get through the work day the most” are:

  1. Scientist/Lab Technician
  2. Marketing/Public Relations Professional (Strike 1 – current job)
  3. Educator/Administrator (Strike 2 – 2 years teaching at North Eastern University in Dalian, China)
  4. Editor/Writer (Strike 3 – current job)
  5. Healthcare Administrator
  6. Physician
  7. Food Preparer
  8. Professor (Strike 4 – again, English professor at NEU)
  9. Social Worker
  10. Financial Professional

Blaming my career for my addiction is a nice concept, but since today is National Coffee Day, I began to reminisce about my early years of caffeine addiction–before I chose a career. As I said in a previous post, my Dad traveled the world slaying corporate dragons. While on his adventures, clients would take him to world-renown, five-star restaurants, those tiny bistros that served heavenly nuggets of delight, and secret coffee headquarters located in tropical paradises. At least that’s what my underage, overactive, highly imaginitive brain told me. His carry-on bags always held treasures from far-away places; treasures that sometimes, if I was lucky, included dark roasted coffee beans.

My first taste of “the good stuff” came during a trip to Venezuela when I was six years old. Enrique, my Dad’s buisness partner at the time, met us at the airport and took us to his home in the hills of Caracas. Surrounded by the lush Venezuelan landscape of our friend’s home, we were served dark brewed coffee, sweet cream, and raw sugar. It was divine and I was utterly, unreservedly in love. At the close of our trip, Enrique loaded down our bags with his magic beans and sent us on our way. Every time he would fly to the States, his breifcase would be laden with pounds of coffee; he was one of my favorite grown ups. To this day, our Venezuelan friend maintains hero status in my book.

Honestly, I think this experience is what ruined me for Folgers and turned me into the coffee snob that I am. Once you fly first class, you seriously loathe coach, right?  So, here’s to all of you coffee snobs, caffeine addicts, and social muggers. I raise my steamy cup of brew to you!

Reader Response: How do you take your coffee?