Small Things With Great Love

This has been a confusing weekend. An emotional one. In the wake of Friday’s tragedy, I think many Americans are living in a mixed state of grief, pain, shock, anger and fear. As more stories emerge that give us a small glimpse into what unfolded for the children and teachers inside the school walls, each new detail has been like another shard of glass piercing our collective hearts.

My own reaction when this happened was a deep and utter grief for the families who have been impacted by the tragedy. Because I know that the pain does not end with the passing of 26 citizens of this world. It does not end with the families, the friends and neighbors of those who have died. It does not end with the hundreds of children who were brought to safety and survived. It will not end with the children who were hidden in closets to protect them from the killer on the other side of the door.

My grief was replaced by a need to ask WHY? Like so many, I want to find answers. It’s clear from details that have emerged that the young man who did this, this irreversible thing, was just a baby himself at the age of 20. And that he was extremely troubled and battling his own demons with a history of mental illness.

Americans are a practical people. We want to look for solutions. We all like to be fixers, I think. The problem is that the solutions we all discuss are a part of something much more complex. The solutions we point to are often fairly one dimensional and alone, will not solve the problem. Some of us point to guns. Some of us point to a lack of mental illness programs for the individuals and families who live with the reality of it every day. We can point to an entertainment industry that glamorizes violence and a gun culture that perpetuates that Americans have a “God given right” to wield weapons that can kill with the ferocity we saw on Friday.

As if God would want us wielding semi-automatic weapons. God sure does “give” in mysterious ways.

I don’t know the whys and I don’t know the solution. I think many of us want to talk about it, NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT in our own way try to understand how to prevent this again, so there is not another school, mall or movie theater in the news next week.

Perhaps we don’t know the answer today. On our solutions, as a country we are strongly divided. We all want to protect our children but we have different views on how to achieve that and what “fixing this” means. Heck, we can’t even agree on what “this” is.

Nothing will bring back the children that died on Friday. Nothing we write on Facebook. Nothing we say in disagreements on Twitter. Nothing we discuss in heated voices by the water cooler. Hugging our children will give us comfort. But again, it doesn’t change the fact that there are parents who will never have that chance again.

Perhaps in our grief and our collective humanity, we can honor those who are gone with something more than anger. There has been too much anger.

The faces of those who died on Friday will be at the forefront of the American conscience for a while, as they should be. The images of the beautiful young children and heroic faculty that died will haunt us for some time.

But in the midst of the horror emerge stories that should remind us of the largest lesson here. Humanity.

The bravery of the school custodian who ran up and down the halls trying to warn the teachers.

The fearlessness of the school secretary who turned on the school intercom to warn everyone that there was a shooter in the building.

The teachers who hid their kids in bathrooms and closets and calmed them down with books, crayon and paper. One, protecting her students by physically placing herself in front of them, acting like a shield, when the gunman shot her.

The cafeteria workers who hid the kids out of sight and locked all the cafeteria doors.

The Principal who ran head on to confront the shooter.

The kid who offered to protect his class and lead them out of the school, because he “knew karate.

There are about 15 days left till the end of the year. I know this doesn’t count as “paying it forward” but it’s close. I think it’s time we honor and recognize that we are tied together and bound by something more important than our views on guns, solutions and our politics.

Humanity.

I plan to do it by participating in a movement to perform 26 acts of kindness to honor each of the victims from Sandy Hook Elementary that day. You can follow the movement on Twitter under the hashtags #20Acts (for those honoring the children) and #26Acts. I am going with 26. Because if the courageous staff had not responded the way they did that day, even more children would be dead.

Why do we need a movement to be kind? Shouldn’t we just naturally be kind? you might ask. Of course. YES. But I would like to perform these acts with each victim in my heart. It’s my way of honoring their spirit and lighting a candle with and for each of the sparks they have created.

So, who is in? If you are, consider sharing this post or just spread the word on Facebook.

Let’s do this thing.

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”- Mother Teresa

Post script 12/18/2012: Since writing this post, I did discover that journalist, Ann Curry (@anncurry) had and was the inspiration for this movement. I just want to say thank you to her for having the grace and vision to start something like this. And I know this is a post about love and shit, but to the Executives at the Today show who decided she should not stay on? How do ya like them apples?

Kind of bitter, huh?

Oh and for anyone who is complaining about the movement saying people should be kind every day? Yes, we get it. But this helps with healing. I am inspired following that hashtag. Also, people are asking for ideas on some inexpensive ways to be kind. Here are a few that I picked up on the #26acts hashtag:

1) Give 26 unsuspecting people a flower with a tag on the bottom with each of the victim’s names. Or don’t put the names. Just do that in your heart.

2) If you are buying coffee, buy the coffee for the lady or man in front of you. Merry Christmas! Hope they like their Macchiato!

3) Tell people you love who you don’t normally “appreciate” the way you should why they rock.

4) Reach out to a teacher who you loved as a kid and send them a wish for the holidays and a thank you for what they did.

5) Tell your children’s teachers how much you appreciate them.

6) Send an email to the Today show and remind them why they should never have fired Ann Curry. Donkeys.

7) Make a nice dinner for a homeless person.

Anyway, just wanted to add this. If you have any inexpensive ideas, make sure to tweet them with the hashtag #26acts, or comment here and I will get them up.

Muchos besos.

45 Responses to Small Things With Great Love

  • Myra says:

    This is beautiful, Kiran. I’m in.

  • Christine says:

    You had me in tears. I’m in.

  • Love it. And you know I’m in.

  • Pingback: 26 Acts of Kindness

  • Doctor G
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m in. Nice to meet you.

  • Areeb
    Twitter:
    says:

    This is amazing. I’m in!

  • Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    Practicing at least one act of kindness a day is something I’ve been trying to do all year. Some days, I succeed, some days I don’t. I think this is a beautiful gesture, Kiran. In my own small way, I hope my daily acts of kindness, big or small, towards myself, my family, my friends and complete strangers, will honor the 26.

    • masalachica says:

      Your small way most days is most people’s days of kindness and compassion that shuts off.

      Yes it should be every day. In the meantime, I want to give back – in more than just holding the door for five minutes at the mall and do things that matter.

      xoxo,
      Kiran

  • tracy says:

    Beautiful and amazing and I’m in. xo

  • Marie says:

    You are right – we are bound together. And what a beautiful way to honor all those lives, everyone who was involved and impacted. Beautiful writing, too (by you).

  • Kimberly says:

    Beautiful and absolutely amazing. I’m in.

  • Galit Breen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Stunning.

    Your heart, this light, this refocus.

  • Ilene
    Twitter:
    says:

    I am sitting here in the car dealer service department reading your post and weeping. Yes. Of course I’m in. Hell yes I’m in. You don’t have to ask me twice for this one.

  • Shell says:

    I will be doing #26acts in honor of both the kids and the teachers.

    First one: sent my boys’ teachers a little goody bag this morning, hoping to give them a smile on a rough morning.

  • Krystal
    Twitter:
    says:

    I literally had no words when I heard about this tragedy . it’s so heartbreaking!

    XX

  • Jennifer
    Twitter:
    says:

    Kiran, you wrote so beautifully so much of what I was feeling and thinking this entire weekend. Thank you for writing this and I would like to join you in the 26 acts of kindness, with one change – I’ll be adding 2 more for the mother of the gunman and the gunman himself. I’ll do those last, as I think it will take me some time to build up the strength and love in my heart to be able to show the same compassion that Emilie Parker’s father Robbie did. I hope everyone can find peace in time. May God Bless the victims and their families and may they feel the love the world is wrapping around them in their time of sorrow.

    • masalachica says:

      “I would like to join you in the 26 acts of kindness, with one change – I’ll be adding 2 more for the mother of the gunman and the gunman himself. I’ll do those last, as I think it will take me some time to build up the strength and love in my heart ”

      Ah, Jennifer. What a heart you have. Your generosity is an inspiration.

      xo,
      Kiran

  • Dixya
    Twitter:
    says:

    I have no words to describe the confusion, anger, pain, frustration over the whole situation and cant even imagine the sorrow the parents are going through. I am in with #26Acts.

  • AJ Collins says:

    Kiran, This is beautiful! I have been crying on and off for the last few days. Each time I read about it, each time I talked about it… tears. I’m in! I would love to participate! Is there a blog button I can post to tell my blog readers about it? *Today I posted a picture that includes the names and birthdays of all the victims. It is so much more stark when you see names and birthdays that are the same as my own children…

    • masalachica says:

      I know what you mean. I keep thinking the number 6. It seems like that was the age of so many of the victims. And I remember being 6 and being so excited to go to school (well, until homework came along). Days when I was sick and couldn’t go, I would be sad. Did you see the tribute on “The Voice”? – It’s beautiful. Here is the link.

      Not extravagant. Not a tribute with fireworks. Just simple, moving and graceful.
      Just right.

  • LadyInRead says:

    Kiran, thank you for a beautiful post and for this wonderful movement. And I hope this effort leads to me doing a kind act consciously everyday even after…

    • masalachica says:

      I think we all hope that for ourselves. I didn’t start the movement – just wanted to jump on board when it started. I first heard of it through Ann Curry, the journalist, but she didn’t start it either. I am happy whoever thought of it it did. It helps those of us who want to honor the children and teachers a way we can do that with positivity and light rather than sadness or anger.

      So glad to have you here!

  • Sig
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love this idea – I was shell-shocked even from this side of the world, so I can only imagine the magnitude of the grief and frustration that would be happening there.

    i’m in :)

  • Andrew Bailey
    Twitter:
    says:

    this is a test comment to see how commentluv reacts
    Andrew Bailey recently posted…CommentLuv PremiumMy Profile

  • Rema says:

    Delurking…you write beautifully and I’m in.

  • Rivki Silver
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thank you for this. It breaks my heart that at times like this, just when we should be banding together and supporting each other, divisiveness rears its head and things get nasty. Such a shame, such a waste. So I was thoroughly encouraged when I saw this #20Acts #26Acts movement. I tweeted about one of my contributions just this morning. :)

    We will never understand why such horrific tragedies happen, and at the end of the day, despite all the changes to society that need to be addressed and made, we can only control our own contribution to the world. But we can choose to contribute light, love and hope to everyone we come in contact with. We can bombard the world with positive acts, understand and goodness. Here’s to that.

    • masalachica says:

      I know. I have a lot of feelings on what I believe the problems are, but there are complications that I am not versed in. What my gut feels may not ultimately make the most sense for this country, I want there to be a methodical way for us to approach this without people getting so defensive about their rights to own guns, that they consider it un-american to question it.

      Anyhoo, even when I say I am not going there, I do, apparently.

      In the face of the tragedy, I felt morose, depressed, scared, angry and I wanted to get into fights on facebook like most mature 36 year olds might (NOT), this alternative is so much better.

      Love wins.

  • Ray Colon
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Kiran,

    Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post. I wrote two posts about Newton. The first, written that Friday, was rooted in anger. A week later, I wrote about Newton again. That time, as you suggest, I guess that I tried to be a “fixer”. Good call.

    Pay no mind to those who scoff that we should be kind every day. We all know that we should; but we all (including myself) don’t make a conscious effort to follow through on what we know. For that reason, efforts like #26Acts are always a good idea.

    Renee sent me. I’m glad that she did.
    Ray Colon recently posted…Juggling ActMy Profile

  • I had posted the following on my FB page (and made a donation) after the tragedy on 12/14, and I think it fits in with your requests for acts of kindness…probably worth a re-post now that the holidays are dying down – a reminder that there are families who still need support, and will need it for the foreseeable future:

    “One of the issues on the table after the Newtown tragedy is mental health. If you want to do something to improve the availability of mental health services, here is a small thing each of us can do right away to this end. My thought is that rather than talk about how “something needs to be done” and then argue about what that “something” should be, we should each pick up a piece of the rubble and get to work.

    There will be a need for ongoing mental health services to help the community of Newtown through the long grieving/healing process ahead. You can send donations directly to Newtown Youth & Family Services marked “Agency Use Only.”

    Newtown Youth & Family Services
    15 Berkshire Road
    Sandy Hook, CT 06482
    Phone: (203) 270 – 4335 or (203) 426 – 8103
    Fax: (203) 270 – 4338
    Contact: Ashley Mele or Candice Bohr”
    Daily Presents recently posted…Today I Choose PeaceMy Profile

  • Nancy B says:

    Hi Kiran,

    I just found this on Pintrest and have to say you must have such a kind heart and soul. I will never forget these children and always try to practice some type of random kindness daily. Beautiful it is.

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MEET KIRAN
I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....
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