Dark Are These Days

For the past days, I have been trying to block out the sound of a siren that usually overcomes my sensibilities when my heart is about to break. I just couldn’t imagine what the world has become. I knew that there were dangers in certain places but I also knew that there are always safe zones that no one, supposedly not even the craziest criminal, will dare desecrate. Sadly, one Saturday, I was proven wrong by the Sandy Hook tragedy. As I read the horrific news, I couldn’t accommodate the grief that I felt for those who have to outsmart the pain that will follow them around where ever they will go.

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I don’t know how it feels like for a parent to lose a child, I can only imagine. What I do know is, this is not the natural order of things. No parent should ever bury his child, nor should a child bury his parent or grandparent after a massacre.

Before my volunteer work, I was a kindergarten teacher and I loved every minute of it. I used to watch parents hurriedly drop off their babies before rushing to work. I also watch the same parents pick their children up from school. I wonder how it must feel like for those parents who lost their children in the Sandy Hook tragedy to not be able to do this anymore. I wondered about parents who were somehow thankful to drop off their children in school that day because this would mean that they have a few hours to themselves only to be struck later of news that their children were casualties. I can imagine the shame they must have felt, as well as the regret of not making those last minutes worthy of their children’s last day. I wondered about those who, upon hearing the news, drove like madmen to school whilst praying that their children will be safe, but was told otherwise. I wondered about so many things and each thought turned to be as heartbreaking as the other, so I tried diverting my thoughts elsewhere.

My idea of ‘elsewhere’ was India. I thought that its rich culture will keep me preoccupied but India failed me as well. Last night, I was dumbstruck by another horrific news of a young girl gang-raped and brutally beaten in a moving public bus where she and her boyfriend rode on their way home. I could only imagine how the irritation of initially being verbally harassed have turned to anger, to fear, then to insurmountable horror when she knew that there was no escaping of the inevitable. Again, I wondered how it felt like to fight without an ounce of chance at winning and watching yourself retreat to the innermost corner of your mind where those monsters cannot touch you.

I wondered and all these thoughts are about to rip the seams which have been keeping my heart in one piece. Surely, I can rummage through my brain and salvage something good about the world. “Think, Den” I urged myself. But my thoughts led me to a recent fight with a friend turned enemy, all because of a box that should have been shipped to and received by my father a month ago. After all the hurtful things that was said and done, I have finally decided to give up on that box and leave everything to God. I wondered how something so innocent and mundane can wreck a friendship that could have gone a long way. I wondered how civilized adults (me, for one) can lose their grace when pride and anger took the reign.

I realized, maybe this wondering is the good part. We wonder after waves of evil have passed, after surviving the pain, the grief, the hopelessness, the hatred. We wonder and relearn the lessons that have been taught. Lessons like making each moment count, making sure that your loved ones know that they mean everything to you, keeping safe, trusting your instincts, holding back your tongue when need be, not giving in to anger, understanding why there were lies, forgiving despite the betrayal, amongst others. Sadly, we learn and relearn lessons only after tragedies happen. The same lessons that could end all kinds (and sizes) of war in a second.

Let us not forget.

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