Tuesday, December 18, 2012

{Perspective} When Things Fall Apart

Today, as our family worked its way through the morning routine, which this morning happened to include me reading books to Wild Thing and Caterpillar on the couch after breakfast and then settling them down with a video so Wild Thing, who is sick, would rest, and I could get some last things ready to take to a school party and the post office. My husband was going through his morning work routine in our bedroom (AKA his office), but in the background, instead of listening to the radio, he was listening to President Obama speaking at Newtown. 

When I went into the bedroom to hang up some clothes and get dressed to go out, I paused and listened too - I have still not processed fully the events of Friday and doubt that I ever will. 

What I do know is that yesterday I had 2 nearly complete blog posts, one that I wanted to post yesterday - my Virtual Book Club for Kids post, and the other that I planned to post today, my Ten for Tuesday: Airplanes and Kites post as a continuation of my Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go! series, which I am really enjoying -- and which readers seem to be enjoying too. 

However, yesterday Wild Thing woke up from his nap quite sick. Plus, it was our first official night of Operation Christmas Presence, and my husband and I had spoken over the weekend about the value of slowing down even more, of pushing other things aside in those quiet moments in the evening when the boys are asleep and we are still up and using that time to be present/awake/focused on each other, rather than each of us going and sitting in front of our respective technological devices. 

So, yesterday I chose to focus on my sick child and to let him pull an activity out of our Santa bag and to bundle the boys up and go out as a family and look at Christmas lights and then to sit in bed and read (after the boys were asleep). It was the right choice. I am behind, so to speak, with what I had scheduled for my blog, but I am ahead when it comes to my family, which is the whole point anyway...

And then this: Today I noticed that the book that I am using to prop up my computer happens to be When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, author and teacher.

How appropriate since thinking of Newtown feels a little bit (okay it feels a lot) like things are falling apart. As I reread through the opening pages of the book, the following passage stuck out to me: 
 ...the only time we ever know what is really going on is when the rug has been pulled out and we can't find anywhere to land. We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves to sleep. Right now--in the very instant of groundlessness--is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.
In the wake of Newtown, I see this seed being planted, the seed of goodness, the seed of compassion. The #26actsofkindness movement is one example and there are so many more. Wake Up. Plant Seeds. Look around and see who needs our care. 

Yesterday, Awesomely Awake shared A Millions Candles for Newtown and the link for the Sandy Hook Support Fund, Mama Smiles shared her commitment to #26actsofkindness and this link to the Connecticut PTSA, and a few days ago the Buzz Feed 26 Moments that Restored Our Faith in Humanity This Year made the rounds on social media. All of these things, and more, demonstrate to me that some people have chosen to be awake and will not go back asleep, even in the midst of the darkest moments. I am one of them. I am awake. I am committed. I will foster goodness in the world, how about you? 

Today, we left candy canes at the counter at the coffee shop and dropped goodies at our community center. It is a start. I am hoping that 26 acts will become a way of life for all of us, habits so entrenched that everyday is a day full of kindness, goodness and compassion in the world. #26actsofkindness #26Acts

You might also like: 14 Days of Compassion 


  1. And this is why I love your blog. Beautifully written.

  2. Beautiful post, Jen. What a perfect book to discover. I pinned your post and added your link a number of places. I started a new Make a Difference section on this post and included your link: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/12/14/talking-with-children-about-tragedy/

  3. I love this idea of 26 acts of kindness. A beautifully written post - thanks for linking up :)

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity