"Spirit of Christmas" is a song I wrote many years ago, while in the thralls of motherhood of two small boys, an ode to the magic of the holiday and to them. I revised the lyrics last year, as my grief over the Newtown tragedy could not go unattended. I wanted the song to more clearly reflect my wish for peace. Writing is my outlet; words are my little swords.
Here we are, a year later, and our souls reverberate once more with the painful echoes of yet another school shooting in Colorado, a stone's throw from all the others. And just this morning, local news informed us that an 18 year old was arrested at Ben Davis High School for bringing a loaded gun to school....
I must confess: when I heard about the most recent Colorado school shooting, I was struck with the realization that no longer was I shocked and dumbstruck with the news.
Oh my God, am I getting used to it?
In Man's struggle to constantly assert himself over others through violence, am I as citizen and media consumer being made - unwittingly and unwillingly - to grow accustomed to tragic news like this?
We humans have the capacity to express ourselves, deeply and completely, through Art in the most sublime ways possible. Even if that expression challenges us, it reflects the artist and it reflects us. How we interpret and come to understand these expressions is part of our collective evolution.
I say, let us look to and support the Arts and artistic expression as a non-violent alternative, a non-destructive means by which anyone can celebrate, vent, rant and record one's personal history and experience. Artistic expression is known for its cathartic and therapeutic effects - it's the one way a person can vent until spent without impinging on the fundamental rights of others. Sturm und Drang is as real as it is valid, and artistic genius and its most passionate downloading are linked factually and historically with the darkest windows into our psyches. Let us also, when we talk of mental health issues and awareness, include the Arts as a key realm to be tapped.
Maybe, just maybe, if access to and education keeps those doors to the Arts wide open, we might foster the presence of choices and means of expression that do not involve picking up loaded weapons.