On December 13th, when Karl Pierson, a student at Arapahoe High School, in Centennial Colorado, shot Claire Davis, he was carrying three gasoline bombs, a machete and 125 rounds of ammunition. Claire Davis died on December 21st. She was 17 years old. She was not a “planned target.”
Hardly anyone noticed. What does it take? If one’s not enough, do we need three, ten, twenty, a hundred? Do we need a room full, a theater full, a packed stadium? Is there any number at all that would make an impact, that could turn things around?
Claire Davis was a high school senior sitting on the steps of Arapahoe High, on her way to the library with a friend. She was no-one and everyone. She was your daughter and mine. She was the one who didn’t get away.
“It is with unspeakable sadness that we write and say that Claire has passed away from the gunshot wound she received,” her family said in their statement to the press. “We ask that you give us time to grieve the death of our daughter by respecting our wishes for privacy.”
I can’t begin to fathom the grief and the loss. Each time this happens it’s different from the time before. Its worse. More tainted by ill will and ignorance. More uncaring. More loaded with bad karma. By now we should have seen the light. Become able to set aside the dance of political ego and outdated Second Amendment rights in favor of sanity, respect, reverence, loving our neighbor — opening our arms to life instead of “bearing” them. But if we haven’t done it by now, what are the odds we ever will?
Can one more murder restore us to our senses? Or has the magic moment already come and gone, leaving us to wander in the darkness of our small mindedness till death us do part? Can we somehow manage to remember that the will to power leads us only to disaster, while the will to love, to give, to share, and (yes, dare I say it) to sacrifice, leads us to salvation? Perhaps even to heaven.
While I was living in Vermont, a friend and I attended a picnic given by an attractive, self-promoter whose charm was exceeded only by his unbounded ego. It was a perfect summer day, birds chirping, brook babbling, but my friend was feeling down and out, The previous afternoon had found her bearing a bunch of straw hats, strung along a pole, down to the field by the entrance to our Pittsfield community where we cut a circle and a path into the midst of the high grasses to make her more accessible to passers-by for purchasing her wares. After several hours of standing in the almost 90 degree heat she finally sold one hat with a pink tissue paper flower, artfully attached to its brim. And wound up with ten dollars for her days labor.
She asked how she was supposed to deal with this, and when the good times might begin to roll? The host waved his arm, told her to look around, and said “Heaven is right here on earth at this very moment.” It was what she needed to hear. Though God knows if either one of them knew what he was talking about. At the time, I had no idea.
That was twenty years ago. My friend and I, and the self-promoter guy have all moved on. As for heaven being here on earth at this very moment, I eventually found great value in this belief. For the Claire Davis’s who lose their lives so senselessly each day, it better be. Who knows what comes next? And when whatever it is, does, I hope that by then we’ve worked our way through the pain of our lives so we don’t need to come back and do it again, to finally get it right.
Meanwhile, stay safe and use the following imagery exercise for protection from harm for yourself and for others. And especially for the kids:
Circle of Light
When you awake each morning, before you begin your day, close your eyes and exhale one time through your mouth, and imagine you are surrounded by a circle of protective white light. Know this light is with you throughout your day, wherever you go, whatever you do. Use it when you’re alone and when you’re out in public places. Just see it and sense it and know that it’s there.
Now call upon your guardian angel.* Ask her or him for the protection and peace you want and need. Give thanks, and Know that all is well, that you are safe and sound. And keep saying Thank You throughout your day.
* We all have Guardian Angels. But If not called upon, they languish. To create a strong connection stay in touch. Ask for what you want and need. This may be protection from harm, as in the exercise above. Or it may relate to any part of your life in which you desire assistance. Express your gratitude by saying thank you when you make your request, as though what you ask for has already been given.