I sometimes hang out with a crusty old Vietnam vet. He is a sweet old man with whom I have some of the most amazing conversations I’ve ever had in my life. I saw him a few days ago, and he told me he was having a rough week. “There was that shooting in Michigan,” he said. And it had gotten him down.
This man and I have had some incredibly deep, emotional conversations. But we haven’t gotten into a whole lot of the mundane details of our lives. So he was completely unaware that he was talking about my alma mater.
Since the night of February 13, when someone murdered three young people and critically injured five more, I’ve been sad, hurt, scared, angry… and kind of numb.
I’ve been afraid that this would spark yet another debate about political issues that will lead to nothing. If you know me, you probably know that I hate to talk politics anyway because I’ve grown so tired of the uneducated opinionating and just plain hatred that these discussions tend to stir up. Fearing all that, I numbed myself. I needed to grieve and not deal with all that other crap.
Seeing my friend’s pain opened that right up for me. We weren’t talking politics. We were just two crusty old combat vets talking about the feelings we have when we hear about such violence. We are no strangers to violence, but that does not make it our friend. I was finally able to cry for my alma mater and the people who were affected.
I wanted to write something in the immediate aftermath. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to write the kind of thing I wanted to write. And I still can’t. But this is something. This is a start.
The day I publish this is a rare completely free day for me. I’m going to go visit some friends and maybe even grieve a little more. And maybe we’ll say a prayer or send some energy out into the universe for those affected by the violence at my alma mater and everywhere.