I belong to a private internet support group. We are all survivors of gun violence. No one judges, because we've all been there, done that. We know the variety of forms in which PTSD rears its ugly head. We know feeling as if the floor has just dropped out from under you, caught unawares as you tumble down a rabbit hole.
As I've learned here in The Burrow, writing helps to calm the beast.
Sometimes, though, writing is not enough. Sometimes I have to participate more actively. Saturday is one of those times. #RisingForCharleston events are planned all across the country, and Tucson, of course, is hosting our very own.
Our local survivors' email chain was activated. We were personally invited to join Everytown for Gun Safety volunteers at Congregation Chaverim ... and I began to be drawn in.
This is Gabby's congregation. There's a comforting sense of intimacy and connection when you've shared wine-in-plastic-cups in a famous congregant's back yard with the Rabbi herself. I have confidence in her ability to strike the right note.
Being together in a shared space is difficult for me, and that's bringing me to remembering 9/11, and the neighborhood church on Tiburon Boulevard which welcomed us all that night. Jews and Catholics, Methodists and Sikhs and non-believers sat side by side in the Presbyterian's sanctuary.
It was lovely, and exactly what I needed, and since I can't seem to shake the Charleston massacre from the very front of my brain I have decided that I might need it now, too.
I'm bringing paper and markers for card making; from our hearts to theirs, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church survivors and congregants will know that they are not alone.
It's important to bear witness. It cannot be left to others. We are all in this together, and together I will heal and send healing and be a participant.
Confirming that there will be special attention paid to our security, I began to plan my outfit.
It seemed like a logical progression of events - a service of solidarity in a synagogue should first be examined from a security perspective.... after all, it's a house of worship and I can't be sure that enough of my fellow congregants will be armed and trained and ready to defend the rest of us good guys......
What a world. What a world.