In the midst of constant radio coverage, TV photos of traumatized students, a million words pouring out of the minds and mouths of onlookers who attempt to gather their thoughts into rational responses to yet another mass murder, how can I rejoice in a small happy moment of my own life?
I was swirling through my Facebook account, reading the posts of both famous and not-so-famous people who, though stunned, managed to express their anger, shock, their condolences, and their sense of helplessness. We, we, we, have to do something, they wrote, and some had ideas of what that something might be. Control guns, do more about the mentally ill, protect our schools, defend ourselves with our own weapons, and one, not smiling, suggested that congressmen who voted against more funds for mental health projects be sent to a mental health facility for a while to experience what is not being done for those who need that kind of help. (Never mind that many of those facilities have been closed for years in a wave of new medications that promised to deal with disturbed people without locking them up. But perhaps that’s another story.) Others threw up their virtual hands, which shook with anger, fear, hopelessness, offering no solutions.
I couldn’t bear to read any more. My silent voice had joined this chorus of keening mourners, and I needed to find some sort of respite. I went to my email. When I clicked on a note from a familiar writing site, I was informed that a review of Never Too Late was complete. It had received five stars and had been posted on a number of social media sites. The review made my book seem like the next New York Times best seller.
Finally! My first reaction. All those weeks of scouring the internet for someone to read my book(s) had resulted in one person who did. And liked it. A cloud of sweet euphoria settled over my shoulders and I read the review three times. Maybe I am a writer, I told myself. Maybe I should keep going on that novel languishing in my computer.
Then I remembered.
And now, hours later, sadness and joy are still crouched inside me, in a facedown, eyeing each other, making tentative jabs at tender places, desiring to win the fight to determine which one would win my day. However, a moment ago I experienced an epiphany, a truth so obvious I won’t write about it to my friends on Face book. I was looking at the review one more time, and I understood the power of one person telling another that she is worthy of her dreams. I knew then that somehow joy will overcome sadness, in me, in others. The result will be Hope. And with hope we all can move forward as we support each other’s dreams.