Amongst The Shell Casings
With all the pain and hurt of yesterday's high school Valentine's Day massacre, I thought that rather than feed into the rage and sadness that plenty of others are taking care of, I'd share some beauty.
Because, there's nothing beautiful about assault rifles. Mental illness aside, I've never seen an unarmed mentally ill person kill 17 people in a matter of minutes. Maybe I'm missing something, though.
So beauty it is.
Beauty is the 18 month old girl that sits behind us with her mother every Saturday at coffee. She smile melts my heart. Whenever I see such innocence, it restores my faith in humanity - at least momentarily.
Beauty is serving dinner alongside a few others to 40 adults and children in poverty at a local church. The program is called Coming Together to Get Ahead or CTGA. It is designed to give people opportunities to get training, education, counseling and a hot meal.
Beauty is my wife asking if people could step up and help cover a meal for the Guest House of Milwaukee and getting an immediate response of enough to cover 3 meals. I am convinced that people want to help and are just looking for a conduit to do it through. Changing lives, one meal at a time.
Beauty is a local family I know who have 5 foster kids (8 total kids) and are currently working on adopting 3 of them. Pulling kids out of hopeless situations to help them experience love and safety.
Beauty is my daughter texting me yesterday asking (in her 5 year old voice) "Will you be my balentine?" Yank my heart out and stomp on it, already.
Beauty is a friend sharing her poetry cards with the world on Random Acts of Poetry and Art (RAPA) on February 20th. She does this on her own dime of her own volition. Solely because she believes in the power of words, art and positivity.
Beauty is a winter sky.
Beauty is hearing my son on WUWM radio every Thursday with his friend Ethan, talking about silly news stories, giving advice to strange questions, etc. Students getting their 60 minutes of fame every week in the name of fun.
Beauty is a number of my author friends donating books to my WLIA Annual Conference silent auction. The money raised from this auction goes to fund student scholarships. With tuitions being off the charts expensive, every little bit helps these kids get through college.
Beauty is hearing an encouraging word about my writing - almost always when I am at a serious point of self-doubt.
Beauty is reading a book like Confessions of a Funeral Director. This author uses his experiences with death to change his perspective on life, living and the "death negative narrative." This book should be required reading for anyone who has dealt with a lot of loss.
So I would challenge you to find some beautiful moments in every day. A smile from a kid, an encouraging word, a sunset or a great song.
Because we could all use a lot more of it lately.