Christmas Lights

Don’t think that life is somewhere over the rainbow. What you’ve got right now, with your family, your friends, your house: this might be as good as life is ever going to be. Life is not happening on the other side of the rainbow. We are on the other side of the rainbow.

—rabbi Shaul Praver, upon Shabbat, for Noah Posner

I was leaving to go to work and she woke up before I left and I’ve actually been teaching her Portuguese and so our last conversation was in Portuguese. And she told me good morning and asked how I was doing. And I said that I was doing well. She said that she loved me and I gave her a kiss and I was out the door.

I’m not mad. Because I have my agency to make sure that I use this event to do what I can, to do whatever I can. I want to make sure that my family, my wife and my daughters, are taken care of, and that, if there is anything I can do to help anybody, at any time, anywhere, I’d be willing to do that.

Robbie Parker, father of Emilie Parker

All the guns are gone. They became gone when the Americans understood that they didn’t want to live in fear anymore. When they understood that fear is over. That it is no longer necessary. That it is a product of the lizard brain. That the brain is bigger Emilie Parkerthan that now. That the lizard brain peaked hundreds of millions of years ago. That its day: it is done.

The guns gone even from the police. When Jerry Brown was governor of California there the first time, sometimes Ken Kesey would wander down from Oregon, stop in at the state capitol, and there hold forth to whoever might be around. Once he held forth on how the police needed to “lay the gun down”; they would never be accepted as part of the community, he said, could never do their job, until they did. Brown himself at one point strolled in, listened a bit, then scoffed: “It’s not going to happen. The police are not going to lay down their guns. Let’s talk about something Real.” Kesey smiled, and then he said: “Oh, but it is Real.” And he was right. We are in that Real now.

There are no guns in the nation’s military. And the nation doesn’t have a military. America is at peace with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico. And so, no military is necessary.

There is one gun left among the Americans. It is in a museum. People come by, and they look at it, and they wonder: what were they thinking?

In the early reports out of Newtown, I was struck by this:

Connecticut is reaching out to other states to help with autopsies because they don’t have enough medical examiners.

There was no shortage of people with guns arriving on the scene. There never was. But for healers, Connecticut had to go out of state.

And I thought: that is precisely the opposite of the way it should be. Always, there should be a surfeit of healers, always on hand. But for guns, a call must go out, to bring them in, from far and far and far away—ten thousand leagues, beyond, the wide world’s end. Because the age of the warrior, it is over. We’re in the era of healers now.

All the guns were gone that day the children of Newtown died. Everyone knew it then. It just took some a while longer to accept it. Because children, they are like Christmas lights. Soft and warm and glowing; never to be broken. And they are like that all of their lives. Because there is no such thing as a grownup.

4 Responses to “Christmas Lights”

  1. 1 janis December 21, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Simply beautiful, the meeting of your words and Paul Buchanan’s.

    There’s lots for me to explore here …

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When I Worked

December 2017

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