Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Act in the valley so that you need not fear those who stand on the hill."

This is a very useful Danish proverb, especially when feeling overwhelmed and outwitted...

Time and tragic events have a way of making the mind move back and forth too much. I have been walking each day faster and angrier since Monday when we learned of the horrific murders at Virginia Tech. I can't stop thinking about the failure of police to lock down the first murder site, and alert all persons on the campus that a killer was on the loose. This is the first rule of emergency management: contain the scene, and proceed with orderly evacuation. I cannot imagine how the parents of the dead must feel.

But this is a journal about how to learn to walk twenty miles in one day. I mention the failure to manage an emergency of this scale because my thoughts are so affecting my ability to walk well this week. It is as if there is not enough time to relax the mind, to stretch the muscles. I cannot really keep up with Mary and Lisa this week as they walk. It is as if my mind has contorted my breathing and my good sense.

So I need to find and act in the valley, as do millions of others feeling helpless over the tragedy. I don't want to be looking at every new hire, every new face, to determine if I am dealing with someone who might turn violent. I don't want more media analysis and excerpts from the killer's writings, because that will simply inspire copycat killers. I want to walk with grace and rhythm, looking clearly at the valley and the hill, and taking joy from the abundance that weaves through my own life. Most of all, I want to be able to walk twenty miles a day, for three days in a row.

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