The Courage in Waking Up

They woke up with tomorrow on their minds.

Seventeen mornings . .  seventeen “I love you’s” to someone they held close to their hearts . . seventeen schedules filled with classes and afternoon practices . . seventeen place mats . . seventeen phones chiming with everyday chatter from friends and loved ones . . seventeen hearts . . seventeen souls . .

Seventeen dreams.

Last Wednesday morning, the world was a great big chance that was calling on them to get busy living it. They were going to be lawyers and dancers and soccer players and Olympic swimmers. There were future musicians and community organizers, service people, writers and teachers. They had footprints to make on a great big world with hearts that could fuel the sun and ambitions that would light the stars.

They had lives that did not dwell on endings because they were too busy stepping inside of new beginnings. And there was going to come a day when they were going to fall in love. And they were probably going to get their hearts broken, and then they were going to undertake that most fool thing and fall in love all over again. And from there, every single thing awaited. Everything.

And then those seventeen life stories were ripped away from that everything. Seventeen souls, stolen from a place that loved and cherished them. Seventeen stories that ran out of pages, abruptly. Seventeen voices cut short. Seventeen dreams that never got that chance to happen.

So now they fuel the sun for us and now they light the stars so we do not surrender to the idea that the world is a dark and hopeless place. And now they ask that we have the courage to tell the stories of their lives so the whole world can understand what madness steals. They ask that we possess the courage to fight the good fight they never get to wage. They ask that we have the courage to divine the grace in our hearts rather than the rage in our emotions.

They ask us to have tomorrow on our minds.

The following was written in response to a WordPress prompt on “Courage”



102 thoughts on “The Courage in Waking Up”

    1. Frank,
      I learned how the Parkland survivors are committed to being the last school shooting and it inspired me to write something along the lines of courage. Because people are going to read that and think to themselves that it’s a pie in the sky proclamation. But I hardly agree. I think these kids are going to change things. And I hope and pray they are right.
      Peace to you good man

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Exactly! Isn’t that sadly predictable though?
        Dale and me had a comment thread going the other day about fear, and how fear works for the media and for politicians as well. It brought to mind Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” in which he went into how we are a fear based society.
        And you’re right, the try is the thing. And these kids are going to try. And they are definitely going to be heard.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I’ve a feeling those days are coming to an end. It’s funny, if nothing else comes of Trump’s election, I do believe the outrageous turn of events that made it possible might just inspire and provoke and incite the masses to become that one in a million shot, that outsider who prevails – the way Trump did in 2016.
        Of course, theirs will be a story of affecting change for the greater good.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Marje,

      I have been processing this horrible event, the latest horrible event, by writing all sorts of things. I stopped watching coverage not too long after because it leaves you feeling absolutely hopeless.

      Thank you for the comment and peace to you

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was beautifully done, Marco. I hate that you had to do it, quite frankly, while appreciating that maybe, just maybe, your words will be heard along with the students’ and that change and PEACE will (finally) come to your beautiful country.

    There is much work to be done and you are doing your part, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dale,

      Lovely as always in your comments and wishes and thoughts, thank you so much.
      I am rooting for these kids to be the change we need to see in this country. They are serious about it and I have no doubt they will affect positive change going forward.
      Writing on this horrible event has helped me process things. As with you, I feel that watching coverage of this does me little good.
      Peace and Pink Martini,


      Liked by 3 people

      1. Dear Marco,

        Thank you for your kind words to my comments. I am rooting for them too. Their serious earnestness (is that a word?) comes shining through and they have that force-to-be-reckoned-with attitude.

        Peace, Pink Martini and lotsa love!


        Liked by 2 people

      2. I just made a comment on the Orangutan Librarian about being earnest! And hells yes it is indeed a word, and a dang good one.

        Thanks for the musical selection, it got me thumbing through their stuff and I rather enjoyed it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Earnest – yes… Earnestness? Actually, it didn’t get “underlined” so I guess it is good 😛

        Glad you are enjoying them… You know China sings in like 9 languages? She’s amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. What???!!!

        Sings in 9 languages? That is amazing! I can only sing in three. Spanish, meh. English, even more meh. And some indecipherable language that always comes out to play in the car or the shower, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Cuban. My father was born in Havana. He got out right before Fidel took over. Abuelita was one tough customer. When Fidel took over, all manner of posters in his name bathed the city. And she would think nothing of going up to those posters and ripping them with the tip of her umbrella. In front of armed guard.
        Abuelita didn’t play.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Ahhh…. yo comprendo.
        I love the term Abuelita (and almost used it in my comment!)
        I visited Cuba for the first time in spring 2016. Wrong end, though. Too far from Havana.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’ve never been. I was always leery of going and my father used to give me a big guilt trip about it. The old timers are pretty hard core when it comes to dealings with the island.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Eesh… my boy, Iain, could teach you a thing or two… That one is all about the rum. And spends a small fortune on getting “that” bottle he hasn’t tried yet…
        I have a picture of him in Cuba, cigar in his mouth, holding a glass of rum and wearing his father’s “Take a look at my little friend” t-shirt…
        ‘Nuff said.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The key really is that we have to keep pushing in the in-between moments. Don’t let the politicians or the media move on to the next topic of the day. Sure, there are always new stories to tell, new controversies, but this needs to be in the middle of everything until something changes. And it needs to be a national change. We can’t depend on the crazy patchwork of laws that differs from state to state, local government to local government. I live in a county where the Sheriff has decided to hand out as many CCWs as possible. Plenty of other county Sheriffs don’t do that. It’s that kind of inconsistency that drives me crazy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. These kids give me hope for the future. And hope is far better than allowing fear to rule which has been the response du jour on previous school mass shootings. I hope they are able to move the needle but what a tough way to jettison into adulthood.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Impressive story. Those kids and their activism grows with each day. Poised, well spoken and completely committed, there is much to be impressed with these kids…even the so-called crisis actors. Oh brother! I swear the Flat-Earth Society grows dumber with each day during this assault on decency, (aka the Trump administration). *Sigh*

        Liked by 1 person

    1. John,
      I so agree. These kids are amazing in how they are responding to this horrible tragedy. They are an inspiration to us old folks, for sure!
      And yeah . . what in the bloody hell does a sportsman gain from having one of those weapons?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is sadly true.
        I used to be a gun owner. I had a few guns, loved going out to the range. I never hunted, I’m just not into that. But I loved my guns.
        When my son was born, I sold my guns. I could have used a lock box or kept them at my club, but I just didn’t feel comfortable having them in the house. Now, I know people who ONLY feel safe having them in the house, and that’s fine. I’m not about to harsh that mellow. Guns are never going to be banned.
        But . . . these high caliber semi-automatic weapons? I’m not of the same opinion as far as that goes. And the AR15 was developed expressly for the battlefield because of its ability to achieve high casualty counts.
        The NRA has to meet in the middle. They refuse. So we have to bring this to bear on those elected representative who are being underwritten by them. We really do.

        Sorry for the ramble. It’s one of those topics that gets me going.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I believe in the right to bear arms. I don’t believe in the right of the miscreants among up having access to weapons that discharge a magazine of high caliber bullets in less time than you can say “high Caliber.” I can protect my house with a shotgun. And if the proper laws were in effect, those coming at me would only have shotguns as well. We would take out a lot of furniture and fixtures but there wouldn’t be seventeen people slaughtered in the process.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re right John.
        See, here’s the thing. People are able to change. And when we are faced with the kind of adversity that involves human casualties . . and people STILL refuse to change their opinions as far as banning the sale of automatic weapons, etc . . . well, damnit to all hell!
        I was a young Reagan Republican once upon a time. Had my guns, my tax shelters, the whole nine. And then I lived a life. And then I changed the way I looked at the great big world. Now if a simple shop owner can change his ways, what the hell excuse do these pols and gun makers have?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. FMC,

      I will thank you again for your post. And I will thank you for the comment.

      Hey, I hope we don’t have to ever do this again, yanno? Write about a school shooting? Ever.

      The one thing I DO know is that the kids at that school, the ones who survived, are doing amazing work. They will affect a change, and I applaud their courage.

      I thank you for being a teacher of young people. These kids, they really are going to be alright, and that’s in part thanks to peeps such as yourself.



      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think “they” are going to be getting a wake up call in the form of activism on the part of young people who may have found their moment. Each generation is tested, I believe these kids are going to pass this test.
      And all those peeps railing on about their guns and their interests superseding everything else? They are going to have to listen.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You write so beautifully… about something so heartbreaking. The students now, though, give me hope. But the cynical part of me (part??) wonders if some of these horrible people in DC will ever change no matter what anyone says or does. Like so much of our lives, it’s all about money. I hate that. How about doing what’s right?? Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandra,

      Thank you, and yes . those peeps in DC are going to be as obstinate as ever. But those kids who are survivors of the Parkland shooting are going to change things, I just have a feeling.
      Money makes the world go round, but at what price? The price of one human life is too much as far as I’m concerned, and we are so very far beyond that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really unbelievable to me that Columbine was almost twenty years ago. My kids were babies and I was out of my mind with worry about the world they would have to grow up in.
        And somehow, between then and last week, it almost became like I was desensitized to these shootings. That sounds horrible, but I don’t mean I wasn’t sad or that I didn’t cry when these events happened. But it’s almost as if THIS was the new normal. The way it was going to be from now on. I expected it.
        Not anymore. I think things are going to change. And maybe that’s naive? And if so, I would rather be naive than hopeless.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s exactly what bothers me most. My kids are still pretty young (13, 10) and when there’s yet another school shooting, they barely blink. I get anxious and worried all over again every time something like this (or even a smaller thing) happens… but they don’t have a major reaction. That really bothers me. They should not see this as normal. It’s just wrong… and it makes me want to defect.
        And naive is definitely better than hopeless. But I’m not sure I’ll ever stop being at least a little bit scared every single day when my kids go to school…

        Liked by 1 person

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