Okay, I blew it. Our carefully planned 12 Days of Christmas campaign idea was to share cute stories of the horses and let our community know sweet things, large and small that they can do to help out the ranch. So far, we have received three blankets, bags of carrots, donations of funds and even chocolate for our staff ;-) I was going to post something every day. I could blame this rough weather, the short days and 100’s of emails waiting to be returned.
But the truth is that we just can’t shake the cloud overhead related to the December 14 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. The sheer ferocity of the violence and the depth of the loss colors every thought. Every time I sat down to write a Christmas wish, I was consumed instead by a need to connect with other people so that we could help each other process this sorrow.
At it’s best this miracle called the internet connects us as never before in history. I found myself running into the office between rain storms to check the progress of a couple of online movements that might help you too.
Autism Shines developed amidst the rumor the Sandy Hook shooter was “kind of autistic” according to a young man who went to school with him. Autism families across the globe sucked in their breath upon reading this knowing that the public was searching for an easy answer to the atrocities. An autism mom needed the world to understand that autism and violence are not synonymous and she encouraged other families to post photos of their autistic children and what they love and what they mean to their families. I admit to obsessively rolling through these photos crying and celebrating with these families the people they know and love. Here are just a few to share:
It’s a beautiful sentiment and I’m struck by the experience that each family has made for themselves by picking a photo and writing their description of how they want the world to recognize someone they love who happens to be autistic. It’s a lovely healing thought and I hope that you enjoy and participate as is appropriate.
And now for the Square Peg Christmas Wish.
As the person who has to make a left hand turn onto Hwy 92 at rush hour every day in order to get home, I’m not sure, but it’s been easier to make that left turn lately. Why? Because some kind soul slows and flashes their lights and lets me in.
The Facebook movement 26 Acts of Kindness suggests we honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary by committing 26 random acts of kindness. The originality and the creativity and the kindness of the stories just might restore your faith in humankind. I’ll admit that I’ve spent some of my commuting time thinking about what my next random act may be. Something as simple as telling someone they look nice today, calling on a neighbor who might be alone this holiday season, baking 26 cookies and delivering them to the local firehouse, leaving a $5 bill in a library book, paying for the coffee for the lady behind you at Starbucks. Simple, random and kind are the only parameters and it’s been a healing salve for my sore soul and it’s a lot more fun than Christmas shopping.
I’m going to challenge you one further, I’m going to suggest that you commit 27 Random Acts of Kindness. While we have been encouraged not to publicize the name of the shooter, he too was a victim of this massacre and the amount of pain that drove him to such madness is something we cannot fathom. If you don’t agree, I understand. I do. So if you feel like 26 Random Acts of Kindness is all you can do, that will be enough. And if in your hurry to get home during rush hour traffic, you slow down enough for a giant dirty green truck to turn left onto the highway, I promise to pay your act of kindness forward.
From all of the soggy folks and critters at Square Peg Ranch to you – have a peaceful Holiday and never forget the power of simple kindness.