inextricably linked

I’ve been losing sleep again lately. Because of Calvin's restlessness, from either the seizures or the drugs, he's been waking nearly every hour from midnight on. Usually I fall right back to sleep and dream. But last night my thoughts were twirling and drifting, like so many shining minnows in a shifting current, darting to and fro. Glinting images of Roxanna’s young daughter, the most innocent of bystanders gunned down last Saturday in Tucson, bathed my mind.

In the darkness of our bedroom, a streetlight’s dim golden stencil cast on one wall, I imagined Roxanna and asked myself if she, too, was wide awake envisioning her beautiful girl. I wondered how many scores of thousands of mothers and fathers, their dreams interrupted, might also be reflecting on the same tragic events, contemplating the significance of their own lives, their childrens' lives and what it might all mean. My brother, who lives in Tucson with his wife and young daughter, is most definitely moved by the tragedy—not long ago having planned a business lunch with Christina-Taylor’s father. In my traveling thoughts I marveled at the interconnectedness of things, of the slight degrees of separation that link us all to each other—like the infinite sparkling stars adorning the sky—and that now have fused us to this horrific event and to the luminous spirit of one little girl.

It is shockingly evident that Roxanna’s life has been transformed by the sudden and brutal loss of her daughter. So, too, has my own life, the lives of her loved ones, of their friends, of the nation’s people, the world’s masses and perhaps the universe. In the blink of an eye my own existence, and what I know to be true, has been pierced and splayed open to reveal a raw interior. But now I can see into this lesion, and if I look closely perchance I can pluck out some poisonous dart, toxic hate or bitter malice that may have sometime rooted there.

My own child Calvin, like Christina-Taylor Green, through his purity and innocence, his lack of bitter spite, has taught me profound lessons about the simplicity of love and kindness. It seems this mournful incident might also serve as a reminder and underscore the import of showing compassion and empathy for those to whom we are so inextricably linked.

So at night, perhaps we can dream sweetly under our shared canopy of stars and planets and infinite beautiful things.

National Geographic

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