I've made my living with words for a very long time. Before that I stayed alive in schoolyards by being able to talk myself out of jams prior to the stuffing in me getting kicked out and everywhere. I'm not often at a loss for words and when it has happened, those moments have been incredibly personal.
When I realized after I'd asked her to marry me that my about-to-be wife had said yes, I was staggered and nearly stoned by the audacity of what I had dared ask of her. Jetzt bleibt mir den spuk weg (right now I'm gobsmacked) and in that instant it was. Being present in the delivery room when our son was born was another such eye blink and when our daughter shared with us she had been accepted to Eastern Connecticut State University it was another of those too happy for words situations.
Later this week, a family will come to together for the saddest of all circumstances, not only to bury one of its members but for the parents to bury their child. And the circumstances, or what I've thus far understood of them, leads me to believe the sadness is only beginning.
Molly Olgin was 19 years of age and will remain so forever. Mary Chapa may yet live and return to health but will never be healthy or happy again. There may turn out to be a horribly prosaic explanation for what happened to these two young women that will have nothing to do with who they were or someone's unhappiness about their sexual orientation though I'm not sure why that should be an outcome for which anyone would pray. Too much sadness is so much sorrow.
For too many years we have been a nation of angry ranters who demonize and dehumanize all those with whom we disagree. E Pluribus Unum has been replaced by What Are You Lookin' At? and it doesn't appear, especially in a presidential election year when tempers flare and the rhetoric is white hot, that civility and sanity will be breaking out anytime soon.
No one wants to dial it down until they have had their chance to speak and, too often, to act and when we reduce everything to an eye for an eye, soon we are all blind. But even blind eyes can cry and tomorrow night in memorials across the country, many other tears will be shed for more victims who were hated and hunted for reasons beyond our understanding but, tragically, not beyond our control.