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Today, I saw Belinda cry for the first time in my life.
And it tore my heart out.
Once for the reason she cried. And secondly, because it hurt like hell to see my best friend cry.
She was sitting next to me at my desk, asking me about her five-year old daughter's allergy medicine. And then suddenly she stopped talking and broke down crying, her teardrops falling onto the files lying on my desk, leaving tragic little wet spots on the manilla folders.
"What can a mother do?" she cried helplessly, her delicate hand fluttering to her face, wiping her tears with her hand since she didn't have a Kleenex.
"You send your child to school every morning----and you think they're going to be safe.....and then you hear about these terrible things happening in schools---like what happened in Blacksburg, Virginia at Virginia Tech. And I've got another daughter coming soon! And...and I really want to know?----what....WHAT?...can a mother do to keep her children safe?"
A terrible lump rose in my throat. I had been trying to control it all morning because I was heartbroken over the same reason that she was---and I was truly afraid that if I started to cry that I wouldn't be able to stop...
And what's worse is that I had no answer for Belinda.
And it was then that I felt a rage rising in me---the rage that comes from seeing my best friend cry--- and knowing the terrible, terrible reason for her crying---but also knowing that there's absolutely nothing that I could do about it.
I didn't have the appropriate words to say that would bring her relief or comfort. I didn't know what to say! I felt so damn helpless.... I didn't have the solution that would give her relief that her children will always be safe... and that nothing bad would ever happen again in this world....
And so I'm putting here the picture of a little gift that Belinda once gave me. It is a picture of the Bible of her religion.
It is a living piece of proof that love and hope exist in this world. And that this love and hope exist despite the myriad of differences in our humanity---no matter what religion one is, no matter what color one is, no matter what country one lives in, no matter what political beliefs one holds---no matter WHAT differences there are between we of the human race....
Because Belinda is a different religion than I am--and her Bible is different than my religion's Bible. Hers is a religion which has been ridiculed in this town----just as I've been ridiculed for being a recovering alcoholic.
Belinda and I have never let our religious differences or my shame about my alcoholism affect our deep and abiding love and friendship for each other, through thick and thin, in this sometimes treacherous world.
And one thing about that Bible that Belinda gave me....
In it is written the same thing that is written in my religion's Bible--- something which gives both of us courage, hope, and endurance in the face of the terrible tradgedy which occurred in Blacksburg, Virginia.....
....which I read to her as we sat at my desk crying over that terrible tradgedy....
"He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore." --- Revelation 21:4
All of our hearts, here in Podunk, go out to the victims, families, people of Blacksburg, Virginia, and also to the entire country. We are thinking about you constantly, and please know that our prayers and love for you are constant.