We've been a bit snowed in and our internet connection has gone haywire this past week. So sorry I've not been here as promised.
I'm remembering the shocking tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT five years ago today. A short two towns away from our old home in CT, we could feel the pain from Newtown in the air.
And since that day there has been more senseless gun violence, all over this country. The subsequent "thoughts and prayers", temporary outrage and posturing has felt all too hollow...time after time.
How do we respond as ordinary citizens to these dreadful events?
There are organizations to join, letters to write and marches to participate in. There are trainings to go to, reading to be done and community networking to happen. (Our chaplaincy group is working on emergency preparedness. I'm trying to release the knot in my stomach. None of this is easy).
And there is outreach to the survivors. The folks who are haunted by what they have witnessed and experienced, the folks who must pick themselves up and carry on.
There are some very simple ways to "contribute to positive change...and shake off the overwhelm and discouragement". Here are two examples...
ONE...Lori (of Gratitude Quilts) left this comment here on sew and sow life last week:
"Let me tell you about a local (Hopewell, NJ) activity that may interest you. In memory of the Newtown children, a local organization chooses a school in Trenton and asks people to buy books for the school. On that sad day in December, these kind people bring boxes of books to the school. The goal is to increase the size of the school library and also to send each child home with their own book. Isn't that beautiful?"
TWO...Our own Vermont Modern Quilt Guild is taking up the invitation put out by the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild to stitch quilts for victims and first responders involved in the mass shooting that occurred on October 1st of this year, when 58 people were killed and 546 people were wounded. Here is the quilt top, put together by members of our guild at a "sew in" on Sunday afternoon (with thanks to the guild for the photo I found on Instagram this morning).
Honestly, I'm not sure what a quilt will do to stop senseless gun violence in this country, but I hope these quilts, stitched with love and intention by folks scattered all across this nation will bring comfort to those who have been touched by it. That little square with white polka dots on teal...that little bit of cheer stitched here at our bit of earth is part of something bigger. It's been sewn together with squares made by my quilt guild buddies here in Vermont and it will be sandwiched with batting and a backing and quilted with love. It will be boxed up and sent many miles across the Mississippi River, the plains and the desert. The box will be opened in Las Vegas and given to someone we will never meet. Perhaps it will bring some small comfort to someone who has endured what no one should have to endure.
And that, my friends, is how we will change the world. Bit by bit. With love, light and hope and PERSISTENCE.