On You Will Go

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl

On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

~ Dr. Seuss

It took every ounce of courage I could muster to send my older daughter to school this morning. I was glad when my younger daughter, my first grader, woke up with a sore throat and a fever. She could stay home today. I know so many of you had a big knot in your stomach this morning too and a lump in your throat as you gave your children a hug and a kiss goodbye. I thought of all of you. I thought of the teachers and emailed them to say thanks and give them a virtual hug.

I am so shaken.

I cannot get myself to read the tributes to the little first graders in Newtown. I imagine how impossible it must have been for a parent, presumably the dad, to take pen to paper and jot down in a few sentences what their child meant to them, who he or she was, what they liked and who they wanted to become when they grew up.

How to sum up in a few sentences the warmth of a little hand that squeezes  yours tightly when crossing a street?  How to describe the pure joy they bring by just skipping alongside us or laughing at the silliest things? How to enumerate their achievements: an entire night in their own bed, a chapter book read start to finish, sitting at the table for the entire meal? How to explain their uniqueness, the way they touch your face, or won’t wear a particular pair of tights or need their food not to touch their other food? How do you describe your child in a few sentences?  In a single photograph?

My heart breaks twenty times over for the beautiful children of Newtown, Connecticut.

This morning I had a moment of clarity. In the talk of guns and mental health and video games and everything else that can be blamed, I looked inward. What can we do? We can be kinder. We can step outside of ourselves, outside of our platitudes and self absorption, outside our personal space and comfort zones and step into kindness. Offer a smile, a kind gesture, a hug. Don’t do it because someone knows about it or someone is looking or because our churches and temples tell us to do it. Do it because kindness spreads. I have seen this with my own eyes and believe it to the core of my being. One good deed leads to another. And another. And another.
On you will go.

xo, Rashmi

 

PS: Thanks you to my dear friend Tara who shared the Dr. Seuss poem with me. xo

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