It’s hard for me to look at my parade pictures today. I remind myself that every child shouldn’t suffer because of the 20 lost on Friday. Perhaps the loss makes Christmas (or whichever holiday each family celebrates), hope, and cheer that much more important.
I realize the feeling I have is the same one I always get following a tragedy. It’s best described as “heightened visceralness” (even if it’s not a real word).
Most of the time, I go through life thinking about what I need to do in the next hour, the next day, the next week. I push aside any bubbling sensations in my stomach, throat, or guts and stay focused on what I need to get done.
In the process of disconnecting from my visceral reactions, I also seem to disconnect from my own life. I often walk into rooms and wonder why I’m there, fail to realize my husband has come home or left, or drive somewhere without being able to recall any part of the drive.
When I am reminded how tentative life can be, first I choke. My throat closes, I have trouble breathing. Then I cry. Then I am left with rumblings in the pit of my stomach that I suspect are the disquiet of knowing I am doing nothing to change anything.
I have a sneaking suspicion that these visceral reactions happen every day, but until I am literally choked with tears (which doesn’t happen often), I refuse to pay attention to them.
Now that I am paying attention, I am reminded once again that I must pay attention to now. To the moments I have. Like the moment I am in right now sitting on the sofa, typing, dog curled next to me with a warm foot pressed against my leg.
To fail to notice each moment because I’m so distracted by the news is to give a piece of my life to a dead gunman in Connecticut when it’s far too late to make a difference.
And so, I close my browser full of news feeds and videos about Sandy Hook elementary. I pull up the photos I’d prepared for yesterday’s post. I think of all the smiling children at the Chattanooga Starlight Parade with a warm feeling akin to a mental hug. I say to myself, “Bring on the parade.”
“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
~Gilbert K. Chesterton
That said, here are the next set of photos from the Starlight Parade in downtown Chattanooga. I’m normally not that excited by cars in a parade. But, I did enjoy the creative decorations folks came up with. I especially enjoyed the children around me calling out the names of familiar characters they saw go by.