As a parent, I ache to protect my children. It pains me to imagine their distress, to see them in fear, or to wonder what harsh realities have yet to rock their worlds. I would do anything to shield them from the horrible disconnect of fear. Naturally, I want them to be safe and happy, to be fulfilled and inspired. And yet…

Life happens. Sometimes, in the face of tragedy and unspeakable horror, I wonder, as we all must, just what is this game we are playing at of being human? In the shadows of pain and suffering, what is the point of this all? What does our human consciousness mean in this time and space, as we hang out precariously on planet Earth? I am no quantum physicist, nor do I hold any impressive knowledge of astronomy or a doctorate of philosophy… but it is pretty clear to me that the odds seem stacked against us being here at all. Yet here we are. And it does not matter what letters precede or succeed your name, or what angle you approach this life from – as a dear friend of mine recently pointed out, “something very special and unique is happening here on Earth, and that’s cool!!”

We can teach our children that when words elude us, and our hearts are breaking, this is our moment of salvation – if only we can recognize it as such. It is the paradox to which these words of the beloved Sufi poet, Rumi, speak: “the wound,” they remind us, “is the place where the Light enters you.”

The horrible, senseless acts that break our hearts apart, unite us in our mourning, bring us together through our compassion, and enliven us as a community as we seek answers and attempt to move through. We embrace our children tightly and are reminded to cherish every moment. We pause in our comings and goings to take notice of the abundance of blessings we enjoy. We get clear; we get intentional on what it is we do not want. And we turn towards that which we do.

When this occurs, indeed, something very special and unique is happening here on Earth. If in our pain, we can embrace the paradox, then maybe we open up space for our grievance to be replaced with a miracle. Our constricted hearts expand just a little; and a shift takes place in our consciousness. Where there was darkness, the light shines. And we look to our present as an opportunity to make new choices, refined by our shared experience.

God only knows what this life means. Together we can teach our children to embrace the uncertainty. We can get comfortable with being at a loss for words, and allowing every moment to surprise us with new perspective. We can urge our children to participate fearlessly in making new choices for this planet. And we can remind them to pay attention as something very special and unique happens here on Earth.

And that – that is profoundly cool.