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Friday, July 20, 2012

Facing today's tragedy

I woke up thinking it was a morning like any other, but as soon as I turned on the computer, I knew it wasn't. Friends and family who know I'm in Denver wanted to make sure I was okay. I am. And thankfully, everyone I know and love is too. But there are so many families who aren't. My heart hurt so badly that everything else inside me felt numb.

My plan for the day originally was to meet my peeps at the Tattered Cover for our Friday write-out. But, since I have so much to get done before RWA, I was going to actually work on job-related stuff. My brain couldn't put together the information I needed for work, but I also knew that I shouldn't stay home alone in my bubble where I'd be too tempted to watch news that would only break my heart more.

I went to the Tattered Cover and met my friends, Michele and Robbie, two amazing women. If you don't follow them or read their blogs, you should, because their blessings in my life are what inspire me to try to bless others.

When I got there, Robbie looked at me and said, "You okay?" I knew what she meant, what she was really asking. Usually the three of us have a million words for each other, but all I said was, "Yup. You?" Robbie replied with her own yes, and then I looked at Michele. "You?" "Yes."  We each started to share a thought, but none of us could complete it. Robbie finally said something about how, when she needs a pick me up, she listens to a particular song by Chris Brown. I don't remember what it was called, but Robbie pulled it up on her computer, gave me an earbud, we listened. As Robbie bopped up and down in her seat, I felt this strange disconnect of listening to club music in a bookstore to deal with tragedy.

"Why aren't your feet tapping," Robbie asked me in a bossy but loving voice.

"I'm not really a feet tapping kind of person."

Both Robbie and Michele ribbed me a little for not tapping my feet, so I tried it. It wasn't bad. I might tap my feet a little more often.

The picture I remember from today is not of the shooter, or even of the victims. It is of my friend Robbie, who jiggled and did her best dance moves while sitting in her seat... I wish I had a video of it, because even though I'm sure Robbie wouldn't think it a flattering picture of herself, for me, it was the most beautiful expression of joy I've ever seen. Her blog is called Joy Dance, and if you could have seen her dancing in her seat in front of her laptop with an earbud in her ear, you would understand why.

All too soon, she took my earbud, and because Michele had a deadline, we all got to work. There is something about the communal clacking of keys that pushes a person to write harder, writer faster. Instead of the job, I worked on my book. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. It probably wasn't very good, but I don't care. When I took a break to refill my tea, all I could think about was the shooting and how so many dreams were shattered. What would they have given for one more day, one more chance? I wasn't going to dishonor them by wasting a moment not pursuing mine.

I don't have any answers about the tragedy. I have no idea why it happened or what greater purpose or meaning might be in all of this. But I do know how precious and fragile a person's dreams are, and that in a moment, they can be taken away. Each moment is precious. I am so honored to have two incredible friends who were exactly what I needed. We had no words for today, but together we pressed forward in the direction of our dreams.

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