Friday

Do Cafe Tables Block Bullets?

Some days it's just too much, guys. All the suffering that exists. The ways we humans have found to hurt each other. The many ways it is possible to be afraid. It gets too heavy.

Yesterday. I had a moment. It was over quickly but I am still stuck on it.

I was set to eat lunch at a local cafe with a colleague and friend. Unknown to me, the bank next door had just been robbed. As I parked, the adjacent lot filled with police cars.

As I ordered, I was distracted by the team of armed officers who made their way quietly through the crowded restaurant. One even drawing his taser at one point when he threw open the restroom door. Without a single word, the bustling lunch crowd silently watched the uniformed men work their way through; their posture rigid, their hands on their weapons, their eyes searching.

In that moment, I thought of a lot of things. All. The. Things. All the terrible things.
"Can a cafe table block bullets"? I casually wondered.
"Where are all the exits"? I made mental note.
"Would the bathroom be a safe bet? No, no exit." All while ordering soup and salad.

A woman with two small children finally asked an officer what was on all of our minds, "Are we safe here?" He gave a vague gesture (maybe a thumbs up) as he exited the building and continued his search outside.

Then my food was ready. My friend was waiting at a table. The officers were mostly gone. So I sat down and ate. Which to me, is perhaps the weirdest part. No one left. We all went back to eating.

Partly I sat because it was automatic. But really, if I think about it, I had an inner conversation with myself. One which ended in a subtle declaration "There is danger everywhere." And so I sat.

The rest of my day was also heavy. In fact, I didn't get the chance to tell anyone what happened.

But now I am home snuggling with my toddler and sipping coffee and thinking. WHAT WAS THAT?
"Are we safe here?"
"There is danger everywhere."

And I don't know.

I have no brilliant insights to offer about it. I have a lot of questions.

I also think of those officers and how that frightening moment is their everyday. I want to give them each a hug and a cookie and a day off.

But as for the rest, I don't know man.

My newsfeed is full of anger and fear. FULL OF IT. I make no political point here. Politics do not interest me right now. I kid you not, this morning I saw a police instructional video for how to handle a mass shooting. "Run, Hide, Fight." it said. Like "Stop, Drop and Roll" except for when someone is shooting at you.
"Are we safe here?"
My office is full of people who are traumatized.
"There is danger everywhere."
And I am cuddling my toddler....

I just. don't. know.
My son's pj-clad foot. Also, my sanity.

Here's the only thing I know. The ONE THING in the midst of the dark.

I choose hope. 

That's it. That's what I've got.
I choose to smile at my kiddo's naked booty (he just walked out of the bathroom).
I choose to say "thank you".
I choose to dig for love when there is anger and fear.
I choose to look at my corner of the world as my personal calling.
I choose to turn on Christmas lights at every possible opportunity and smile.

It makes no sense. It solves nothing. But it is everything. It is all I have.

Wishing you hope, smiles, gratitude, love but most of all hope,



2 comments:

  1. Your comment about tables blocking bullets really hit home with me. I have combat PTSD and am constantly looking for danger and places to take cover in public. It's exhausting. I have two boys and struggle between trusting the instincts that kept me alive in combat and making sure my boys feel safe and secure in public. Hope is a big thing though...it's gotten me through a lot. That and my amazing kids! Great post...especially in light of recent events in CA.

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    Replies
    1. Lori,
      Thank you so much for your service. I have many family members, loved ones, and clients who are combat veterans and I think they are some of my most favorite people.

      You probably already know this, but what you are describing (constantly looking for danger) is called hyper-vigilance and it is a classic sign of PTSD from combat. I am so thankful you have found hope in your life and children. You are right, it is a transformative thing!

      If you do find, however, that the effects of PTSD are making your life not what you want it to be- I wanted to pass along some info. EMDR is a technique that therapists can receive special training in and it has shown amazing results. Here is one such article with statistics. http://www.emdria.org/?page=CombatTrauma&hhSearchTerms=%22combat%22

      I just think that, for all you have sacrificed for us, you deserve the very best care and resources. I don't know where you're located but that page also has a search function for therapists near you. Also, google can sometimes produce even better results ;) I wish you healing and lots of hugs from those kiddos of yours. Thanks for taking the time to comment and the encouragement!

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