Instead of My Usual Sunday Kicks,
Some Brief, But Heartfelt, Thoughts …

h1 December 15th, 2012 by jules

I did have planned for today illustrations from a children’s book and seven of my own separate kicks, as is the tradition here on Sundays at 7-Imp, but I still feel very hushed over the tragic news on Friday.

Children die every day all over the world (I initially typed “war” instead of “world,” but that says a lot) in all kinds of horrific and brutal and unfair circumstances, but this, as we all know, hits really close to him in more ways than one.

On Friday, my girls played hooky from school, and we spent the day together, picking up a new book they really wanted — and reading and relaxing together. I can only imagine that, if they’d gone to school that day and I’d picked them up in the afternoon as I always do, that I would have thought of those twenty sets of parents in Connecticut who weren’t able to get their children that day.

I encourage you all to leave your kicks, as you do every Sunday; don’t let me stop you, and we all need some sunshine. But for me, I’m going to share this excerpt from Susan Cooper’s Silver on the Tree, which I totally stole from a wonderful post Emma Dryden did yesterday. Be sure to read her post, too. …

And the world will still be imperfect, because men are imperfect. Good men will still be killed by bad, or sometimes by other good men, and there will still be pain and disease and famine, anger and hate. But if you work and care and are watchful, as we have tried to be for you, then in the long run the worse will never, ever, triumph over the better. And the gifts put into some men, that shine as bright as Eirias the sword, shall light the dark corners of life for all the rest, in so brave a world.

The above image is from illustrator Lee White and is re-posted here with his permission from this earlier 7-Imp post.

* * * * * * *

Illustration copyright © 2012 by Lee White.

25 comments to “Instead of My Usual Sunday Kicks,
Some Brief, But Heartfelt, Thoughts …”

  1. Jules, thank you for the lovely illustration of our Portland’s Lee White. It’s what we need now along with love.
    It’s been a helluva week with the shooting at the local mall that I shop and have a friend who works there and then we start to the healing process only to have Friday’s tragedy. The quote was perfect.
    Today oldest grandgirl and I went to see Matthew Holm and Jenni Holm and that’s all seven kicks in one.

  2. With the busy-ness of looking after a 2 year old, it’s been hard to have much time to ponder this horrific event. But it’s surprised me, how, as time has gone on over the past couple days how the feelings of fear and disgust and anger and confusion have intensified as the reality of what has happened begins to sink in. In some ways, this feels like a bigger moment for our country than 9/11, only because while it was convenient to blame those terrorist actions on our country’s lack of self-awareness in the global political sphere, the fact that young children have been killed just speaks so much more clearly towards the unhealthy state of our nation. What kind of society lays the foundation for this sort of act? A very sick one. If I were honest, I would tell you that my first reaction is to just curl up and run away from it all. But if I were a tiny bit hopeful, I would tell you that there’s a chance of a wake up call here, for a society that cares for those in need (be that kids that end up in jail as a result of our broken inner cities or adults whose mental health needs go unassisted) vs. one that grips to an illusion of safety in the freedom to do whatever we please without concern for others.

  3. That was such a fitting quote. From a book!

  4. Kicks
    1. My children
    2. Their teachers
    3. Their principal
    4. Their father
    5. My fellow mom friends that I could go out with instead of staying home obsessively watching the news.
    6. Good people
    7. Hugs

  5. Jules: Hugs to your little ones. So glad that your Friday was spent with them.

    Jone: Thinking of your friend and your community.

    1) The song I Am A Heart by the band Hey Ocean! (Yes, their band name includes an exclamation point!) I won’t link to it out of fear that this post will be held hostage, but you can listen to a clip from this and other songs at the band’s website:
    2) The TV show Leverage
    3) Barbara Stanwyck month on TCM
    4) Rehearsals
    5) Other people’s pets
    6) Taking care
    7) Hearing something I’d written performed

  6. Hushed is a good word for the feeling, Jules. I wish I had a red umbrella to float above the fray. Alas. Still, it’s a comfort to share virtual sighs with friends here.

    1. Anderson Cooper’s (and others) pledge to keep the mentioning of certain names to a minimum. I think, societally, it helps somehow.
    2. Bravery.
    3. Tis the season, perhaps even more so, because.
    4. For a 2-hour ‘thumbs up’ escape: The Silver Lining Playbook.
    5. Cards arriving daily with photos of new babies and graduations and reminders of happy moments of 2012.
    6. Slow and heartfelt Christmas Carols: Silent Night, O Holy Night, The Little Drummer Boy pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.
    7. Children.

  7. Thanks for the lovely image and text, Jules. I still can’t believe something so terrible can happen.

    Jone, I thought you lived in Portland – I’m glad you’re ok. My best wishes to your community as you continue to heal.

    This weekend I am extra thankful for the wonderful things in my life. Some kicks:

    1. visited an organic market run by a community garden, love seeing passionate people
    2. dinner out with friends for the first time since the arrival of their baby
    3. having an abundance of good food to eat and to share with my family and friends
    4. social occasions at work reminding me how lucky I am to have found a workplace full of sociable and interesting people
    5. seeing little children enthralled by the old-fashioned moving creatures in the Christmas windows in the city’s main department store
    6. hearing the kids next door squeal as they play on a rubber slide under the sprinkler in today’s hot weather
    7. having my family nearby (and safe and sound)

  8. Thank you Jules for this forum. I think of it as a little campfire.
    1. some facebook comment I read about Mr Rogers describing how his mother helped him in tragic moments. She urged him to see around the victims and evildoers to the steady flow of helpers at every scene of violence and catastrophe.
    2. We celebrated my father-in-law’s 80th birthday last night.
    3. My daughter got her college acceptance letter this week. She’s ecstatic.
    4. A new picture book contract is in the works. Fingers crossed.
    5. French Roast coffee to start the day
    6. The ability to make Art every day.
    7. The cosy and quieting closing-in quality of this solstice season.

  9. Yes, thanks Jules for this “little campfire”. I have missed it for many months but come back to bask in it’s glow on days like this. I am feeling sad & horrified for the families directly devastated by these events – the perp’s family too. There has to be more we can do as a society to reach out and help families struggling with mental illness. I have enough personal experience raising “special needs” kids to know how excruciating and bewildering it is to have a kid with extreme needs and not know where to turn for help. God has been so good to my family; He heard my cry and sent me help and continues to sustain and heal us. But for those not connected to health care resources to meet the need… God have mercy.

    I do have kicks, too:
    1. My college library job contract was just renewed. YAY!
    2. I have two weeks off between semesters to chill. YAY!
    3. My three adorable, smart, funny, lovable sons.
    4. My live Christmas tree that shines so bright on these dark nights.
    5. Getting Cybils books in the mail in a steady stream. (Anther package on the porch when we get home! YAY!)
    6. Closets full of Christmas surprises.
    7. My lovely stash of soft, yummy, colorful yarn and easy nights full of knitting dreams.

  10. Jules- I’m so glad you were with your girls on Friday. It was the best place to be for sure. I just hope and pray that the passionate conversations going on in our country about gun control and mental health continue and continue and continue until we have found a way to fix it. Hugs and hope to all my fellow kickers.

  11. Jone, ohmygosh, that’s right. That mall shooting was near you. Wow. I take it your friend is okay?

    Aaron and Ms. O, thanks for stopping by. Aaron, I understand the wanting-to-curl-up temptation.

    Hugs to you, too, Moira.

    Little Willow, your last kick! Woo to the hoo! Was it a song?

    Denise, I really want to see The Silver Lining Playbook, and when you recommend a movie, that’s even better.

    Emmaco, a week of good friends, family, and food. Can’t ask for more. Good co-workers help, too.

    Hi, Rob. I like the idea of a cyber-campfire. …New picture book. Wonderful news! Congrats to your daughter, too. I like your last kick a lot. I hope it starts to get cozy and quiet and closing-in for me soon. Maybe when I’m done with gifts. Blerg.

    Andi! So good to see you again. Your kicks shine very brightly. I do hope, as a result of yet another shooting, our nation can work to address this — not let it be forgotten in two weeks, as is the case so often in our messed-up U.S. news habits. Oh, and congrats on kick #1!

    Stacey, yes yes yes.

  12. Jules, perfect image, perfect quote.

    I was in court most of the day on Friday, and it’d been a long rough week anyway, but all of the judges and other defense attorneys and prosecutors & court staff I work with and interact with – we were all just exhausted and sad. Many of us agreed The Onion had a perfect summary of how we were feeling – lots of curse words so if you google it be prepared if that’s not your cup of tea.

    Here in Portland there has been an awareness of and discussion of the need for more mental health services/easier access to them for several years, but no easy answers, and/or no money for it. In my line of work I see the lack daily. But as Rob pointed out with the Mr. Rogers quote, there are helpers everywhere, and I am so thankful for them.

    Jone – glad you and your friend who works at Clackamas Mall are ok.

    My very brief kicks, went to a holiday party when I didn’t feel like celebrating anything & met a fireman who was a responder to the mall event here. We had a thoughtful discussion about our separate experiences of mental health and the criminal justice system. Got to thank him for doing the work he does. All of the people I work with who are doing their part to try to make the world a better place. Sometimes its small but every little bit helps. Thankful for all of you & this little space of joy & light.

    Hope everyone has a love filled week this coming week – I know we’re somber & sad now, but keep that inner light shining, & feel joy when you can.

  13. Wow.

    What Rachel said.

    (And I hope your upcoming week, Rachel, isn’t long and rough.)

  14. Yes, Jules, my friend was okay.

  15. Thanks, Jone. Good to know.

  16. Thanks, Jules. Off to play soccer now to help make sure it isn’t such a long and rough week. : )

  17. All weekend I’ve thought about how to respond to last week’s events in this space of beauty and kindness and encouragement and joy and love of art that we get to share with Jules.

    Jules, thanks for what you shared – the blog entry was beautiful. I’m glad you used the quote and I love the art.

    There are so many thoughtful comments, so much courage and kindness in everyone here – what a privilege to read them – I thank you all.

    I too am grateful for the many kindnesses and acts of service and love by so many who are quietly getting on with their work without fanfare or much appreciation in many cases. There is much more light in the world that we often realize I think. I try to remember.

    Today at an interfaith devotional program in Los Angeles, we remembered the victims in many ways. I sang a piece in Hindi that Pandit Ravi Shankar set to music in the 1980s. The lyrics are a prayer inviting us all to remember that we can be freed from this mortal cage and ascend to glorious meads above (probably more poetic than that in Hindi – sorry bad translation). But I found this a comforting thought – these innocent children’s souls now in a wonderful place. But how to cope with the unimaginable grief of the families and friends of these children, and the adults who perished with them?

    I hugged my Little (who is six and in kindergarten) a lot this weekend.

    My family’s primary joy this week is that we have been given the privilege to care for a tiny, precious baby girl. We picked her up from a hospital at 8 days old, 5lbs 1 oz. Her biological family situation is tragic. There is more of the sorrow and suffering that several others mentioned that is all too prevalent – and accepted – today on both sides of the family. We are honored to welcome her into our little family for as long as we can have her.

    I hope for a week of solace and healing for all.

  18. “There is much more light in the world that we often realize I think. I try to remember.”

    I love that, Allison. Very true.

    SUCH GREAT NEWS about the foster child. It makes me happy to know she’s in your care.

  19. Thanks Jules; what a beautiful post. I wish I had read it sooner. Thinking of you spending Friday with your girls makes me feel a little better about everything that has happened. Silly?

  20. Thanks, Mr. Hemingway!

  21. Eddie.

  22. Er…I guess Mr. Hemingway is fine. 🙂

  23. I just thought it was fun to say for a minute there.

  24. Thanks so much for this post!

    I have a lot to say about all of this, but it would take seems of paper / lots of scrolling down and down and down a web page, and so…

    So I will keep it mercifully short(ish) for the moment, and say only that our current bedtime reading is the Taran series, by Lloyd Alexander (which is to be followed by Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and also by Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound Kind of Girl, and, and, and…). Anyway, I re-read them all before starting in on them with the boys. And your post reminded me of the end of the last book, The High King, and Gwydion’s words:

    “Evil conquered? You have learned much, but learn this last and hardest of lessons. That was the easiest of your tasks, only a beginning, not an ending. Do you believe evil itself to be so quickly overcome? Not so long as men still hate and slay each other, when greed and anger goad them. Against these, even a flaming sword cannot prevail, but only that portion of good in all men’s hearts whose flame cannot be quenched.”

    Here’s to Beauty, Love and Joy in the coming year. And to Peace, of course.

  25. I love that, Jennifer. Thank you.

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