We say it over and over again. “Enough,” we say. Enough. But it was enough the first time. It was more than enough. Columbine was enough. Littleton, Charleston, Orlando, Newtown and the others… all the others we can’t even remember by name anymore. In our numbness and shame… can’t keep up with them because it happens, and happens, and keeps happening and will happen again. And there is no word for being this far past enough.
My own little baby, I ache to leave you better times. Thoughts and prayers can’t save us any more than it can save them now – seventeen bright souls who have joined the ranks of all those lives extinguished, blown to bits, the taste of ash in the mouths of their families who loved them best. How can we praise life anyway? How can we believe that wisdom and sanity will ever win the day? That the righteous will flourish like the palm tree, thrive like the cedar… when the righteous are hatefully, needlessly cut down and the arrogant stand idly by the blood of enough after enough after enough?
The poet Warshan Shire wrote: “I held an atlas in my lap/ ran my fingers across the whole world and whispered where does it hurt? it answered everywhere everywhere everywhere.”
In the wake of Parkland, Florida… in the wake of all of them… we are mourners. And so we stand, everywhere… everywhere… everywhere. We will stand as we remember our own, and now seventeen more who are also our own. Or could have been. Or could yet be. The weeks will pass and the news will fade, but we will stand for our Kaddish still. We will remember, we will praise what can be praised, we will work for better times. And if ours are the names on Kaddish lists by then, if when those times finally come we do not see them, we pray that our children and their children will.
Rabbi Rebecca Gutterman serves Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek, California.