It’s been a year now, and lots of things have happened since I first moved to Aurora, Colorado. The one thing that didn’t happen, we didn’t go to watch the premier of Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises, a movie that I still have yet to see. I had just moved to Colorado exactly 2 weeks prior and was full of energy and excitement about life. I had tried to convince my brother-in-law to come out with me, to watch the movie on it’s premier night while my sister stayed home with their son. What strikes me in looking back was how much naivety I had about children back then. A two year old takes a lot of energy, energy that diminishes after a long day of work a normal job. Add to it the need to keep up with chores, the non stop work of maintaining a living area where a random guest would not believe that toys and laundry are the primary modes of decoration and viola it becomes apparent that the work of parenting in a quality way can really be taxing. Even with my wild eyed and bounding energy having waited 10 years to get to Colorado, the night had been a rough one and the little guy didn’t go down easy. By the time it was time to go, we had decided that it had been a long night and there wasn’t value in rushing to get to a movie as we were not only tired but also running behind schedule if we wanted to see all the previews. We decided to hang out at home, playing a card game in the basement or something of the likes. The details of the specific range of activities, how we learned of the shooting; well they are part of the haze that happens as people focus on the details of improving the life around them instead of the things that might have been.
We didn’t make it to the movie, and therefore our lives were not catastrophically impacted with the trauma of ‘having been there’. However, it was a pretty shocking thing, to not go somewhere where there was an effort to massacre a large number of people for reasons not yet understood. In some ways I miss living in a smaller community where the shootings happen one at a time and usually drugs are involved. And I’ve been to an event where there was a peaceful gathering and someone was shot. Honestly, these things have helped to strengthen my resolve in continuing down the pathway of my own personal development and resolve to receive and own the vision of potential within myself.
Before the shooting, I was focused on the idea that helping others in a social work method – one or two at a time, or in small community groups – and I’m sure I would have been happy for a while. But while this would have passed some time, I was still fighting some internal battles if this was the right thing for me to do. For me, the ‘what could have been’ was an awakening in my mind. Fortunately I came to Colorado with some tools in my kit that I continue to use. Prayer and meditation have led me to understand the real calling I have in life, that if we focus on solutions for the greater good for all, a greater impact could be had for the benefit of providing a place for future generations to have a chance to live in health and happiness on Planet A.
So, I wasn’t there. I have had known a person or two that was, the church that I have attended most since I moved actually had a large group of people in the theater at that time ( almost 50) ; and they also seem to have something extra about them – a drive to be aware about the value of life. For me, not that far from 40, this is the impact the shootings had most on me. It not that I have a new dream, it’s that I have reminders why the focus is so important, sights on goals that may not be achieved until I’m 80 and I have resolve to realize that it’s necessary to keep moving forward. Hopefully along the way I’ll continue to be privileged by motivating others. I hope to continue to have chances to encourage others along the way; to dig deep inside and, without having to know that they could have been a victim, find the drive to make some change for the better.
You don’t have to be there, or a could have been there, to have the same appreciation for life. Being involved in healthy activities that bring passion for life, and sharing those passions with others in a positive way should be part of the goals of each of us, regardless of our walk in life. Being aware of injustice, compassionate towards change and willing to be a catalyst doesn’t require a near death experience – it shouldn’t require one. Tragic events can do many things, I hope that for anyone else reading this – the idea of being and growing stronger are the things it does within you.