From sadness, action

What can we do to lessen violence and make our children safer?

The massacre in Newtown, Conn., has cast a pall over what should be the happiest time of year, the holiday season. It’s hard to rejoice when the mind is disturbed by images of a madman shooting little children and the heart is filled with sadness for the families of those who died.

The stand-by platitude is of course that life goes on, that while thousands of people die every day, thousands also are born. There are a million reasons to be sad, we might think, so we should just try to put Newtown out of our minds and enjoy ourselves during the holidays. Hug our kids a little tighter, as the president suggests.

And that’s certainly what most of us will say to ourselves and do, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Life does go on. But it surely wouldn’t hurt, during these holidays, to spend a little quiet time with our sadness, to sit with it and feel it as an emotion that grows out of love, and then ask ourselves what action we can take to lessen violence in America and make life brighter and safer for others.