Fight Violence with Blankets, Hope, and Love

Fight Violence with Blankets, Hope, and Love
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Wrapped up like a blanket burrito
Wrapped up like a blanket burrito
Julie Hoag

It’s July and I want a blanket in this heat. I want to comfort myself in a blanket, in something other than what I see on the news. I want to ignore the details of the stories. I want them to not touch my heart because it hurts too much to know it. I want to pretend it all didn’t happen. Yet I can’t stop myself from listening; I can’t stop myself from hearing about the recent violence in the news. It’s been a horrific onslaught of senseless terror.

My heart yearns to help those directly harmed by these events. I wish I could hug them, and give them a blanket. Maybe some comfort food like ice cream and mashed potatoes. But I know that wouldn’t be enough to heal them. It wouldn’t be enough to help them with their next day, or the next. They will have to learn to keep living with their heart stealing losses. They are in mourning. They are hurting. They must figure out how to be survivors.

I feel torn between trying to snuggle into blissful ignorance, yet so outraged I want to know it all and I want to fight. I’m ready to go, I’m ready to fight, yet I don’t know how I can fight.

How can I fight such violence?

I’m not a police officer. I’m not a politician. I’m not a teacher. I’m just a mom.

I guess the best way to fight it is to talk about it. Acknowledge that the violence happened. Teach my kids what is ok and what isn’t. They don’t need to know the details. They need to know scary things exist, but they are loved by their family. They need to know shooting people is not ok. Hurting people is not ok. We have hearts. We have compassion. We have empathy. We need to use it. We need to focus on it in our discussions with our kids. We need to dwell in it, let it soak hard into our marrow and radiate out our mouths as we talk.

We need sunshine and hope.

We need love and peace.

We need understanding, not judgement. We are all unique and different. That’s OK.

We need to support each other on this Earth.

Fighting each other on this earth will do us no good. We all live together here in this house called Earth, and we need to embrace each other. We need to stop hating and coexist. I watch my kids play and fight. Sometimes they can be so mean and the next second they shift and all is forgiven. I see them laughing and playing again. They may bite or hit but they can shrug it off. They don’t let it simmer deep down in them until they explode into behavior they can’t take back. We need to take lessons from kids to forgive quick and live in the moment.

I want to hide all the violence news from my kids. I don’t want them to see clips on tv of shootings or news on the internet about violence. I don’t want them to glimpse the true horrors in our world, not yet. I don’t want that terror to stain their hearts. I don’t want them to see the ugly in this world. Ugliness that is so spiteful it leads to death. I don’t want the ugly in this world and the cruelty to steal their youth and innocence. I know it steals from many kids around the world already, and I pray for them.

Maybe if we forgive more the violence won’t grow. Maybe if we love more, the violence won’t have a chance to survive. Hearing these stories carries me to a place I don’t want to live in. But we do live here, and we need to fix it. We need to love each other. We need to hold onto peace and forgiveness and not allow the flame on the candle of hope to flicker and die in darkness. We need to protect that flame with our teeth gritted and protect hope.

I maintain my own hope. I guard it because I want it.

No one can take your hope. It’s yours and yours alone. Cherish it and nurture it and let it breathe.

Let hope live.

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