By Karlee Ursta
I don’t know who is reading this. I don’t know where you live, what you believe in or who you love. I don’t know how you grieve. But, I do know that when something ugly happens to me, I write. I tear my heart open and spill whatever is in there onto the pages.
With the infamous events of Dec. 14 in Newton, Conn., I’m discovering a few things, things about myself and things about my home. As I write this, I’m looking at a picture of Daniel Barden, a gap-toothed little boy with angel wings. In his eyes, I see my sister. I see the grade schooler I tutor. I see my future child.
Scrolling down the page, I see another picture of another little boy. This boy is much sadder. His eyes are hollow. Something very ugly has taken root in his heart. In his eyes, I see pain. It’s the kind of pain that can drive a person to madness. I don’t know what happened in his life which brought him to this. His name is Adam Lanza.
In both of these boys, I see me and I see my countrymen. Every individual faces difficult, often frightening, situations, but it’s how we deal with them that defines whether or not we are “good” or “evil.” Darkness exists inside us. If we don’t make peace with our own fears and faults, then we are dooming ourselves to be ruled by them. No one is born evil; Adolf Hitler was once a baby in his mother’s arms. People are made evil by their own choices and insecurities, not by the situations life presents them.
I like to keep in mind, though, that evil does do us one favor: it allows us to recognize the people and things in our lives that are good. The waitress who lets you know you forgot your change, the man who holds the door open for you at the mall, the friend who brings your favorite candy on a tough day. Good and evil are just names we give to the small acts, the small choices we make every day that define our character and how we influence the world. Someone who is good handles bad situations without losing themselves in those circumstances. Someone who is evil will let life break them beyond repair.
Good and evil are two states of mind. It’s our own choice which one we end up with. Please remind your children, and remind each other, that we do not have to remain victims. We don’t have to be the prey of others, and we don’t have to be prey to our own darkness. When evil things find us, when we find evil in ourselves, remember that there is always a choice.
I choose to forgive, to forgive and seek some way of change for us as Americans.
Karlee Ursta is a freshman in the School of International Service.