My first response.
I have work to do, but it is hard to concentrate. I just can’t imagine any teacher, administrator, or student who has been even remotely connected to such a tragedy facing a day of school.
Like my friend and colleague Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil, I don’t care to debate gun control over social media. You can come and talk with me. I will try to listen, I promise. But when we talk, please don't tell that the politicians who take money from the NRA care about children. If they have not and will not take action, they just don’t. And so I feel grief.
As I try to work, I know one thing. There will be grief. I have worked with teachers, students, and educators who care. I am proud of fellow English educators who are responding. Some may disagree with their language, their frustration, or their public posting of their feelings and anxiety, but it is a clear manifestation of their visceral grief.
I want to say I am done with this issue, but I am not nor can I be. I will work hard to make a difference. I wrote my Republican Senator and told him that if he did nothing substantive I would walk to every house in my precinct over and over in opposition.
Where I am now.
I am a believer, yet, more than once I have asked in prayer, like man with the afflicted child, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief” Mark 9:24. I am also convinced that Faith requires work. As James 2:17-18 states “Even so, faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast Faith, and I have works: shew me they faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:17-18).
I do not disagree, it is a time for prayer, but moreover it is time for works, for actions.
Today, I am grateful that Michelle Falter and I are working on two edited books about dealing with death, trauma, and grief. I spent most of yesterday reading and editing chapters that will help teachers learn to teach and respond to these issues more directly. I will work on this project today. The work of these scholars gives me hope. I will try hope in the midst of grief. It is what I can do today.
Sadly, no matter what actions are taken or not taken--Grief is here.
Here is an action
I want to say their names again, when I think about when I wrote about Orlando.
I want to look for the helpers when I consider the ways that Las Vegas is trying to be #lasvegasstrong.
One final thought. I think both teachers and students will find some comfort when they read books that speak truth to their experiences of grief and violence. Books that confront fear, corruption, and powerlessness. Books that will move them towards action and towards hope.
I await your suggestions.