Let me begin by saying I am not qualified to write about this tragedy.
None of us are.
I went through my entire list of bloggers today, hoping that someone had written something eloquent that would help us as a field to find the right words to describe how we feel, how we ache, and help us know what to do next.
There was not a single post on Sandy Hook–and since we are a list of communicators, that was strange.
(Quick update: I did find one wonderful email which the author allowed me to reprint here. But still no blogs or article submissions.) My thoughts on this? We are driven to this field for a few reason. Not for money, not for fame, not for power. Instead we are driven to this field to bring peace in the midst of chaos. To bring guidance in the midst of confusion. To build a bridge when the distance seems unfathomable.
We have learned many tools for doing this: we reframe, we caucus, we refer to BATNAs.
But our most powerful tool as mediators? Silence. We listen. We provide a meaningful, intentional, respectful, dare-I-say sacred space for other people to share.
So since we as a field are not overly communicating currently about this tragedy, I believe that we are listening. We are listening to the pain of each parent. We are listening to the stories of fear, of heroism, of disbelief. We are listening to the story of each life that was stolen, what they were like, their favorite color, their dreams for the future. We listen to the incalculable love a parent has for a child, the love that will never diminish, not even in death.
We listen to people who need to take action, and talk about gun laws and school safety and mental health. Through listening, we know they have space to communicate freely and incite the right people to take the right action.
When we listen we absorb a bit of each story. And as I have walked around these past few days, at the grocery store, the post office, etc. people have changed. They have sobered a bit. They might not laugh as much this week, but they hold their loved ones much tighter.
As a field, we listen. We listen so that we can fully understand what every one of these beautiful souls was like. And in listening, we will never forget.