It's the mall where I bought my hiking boots. It's the mall where my daughter, when she was little, sat on Santa's lap. And it's the mall where, a week ago Tuesday, a man opened fire and killed two people--miraculously not more--before killing himself.
Yesterday at Clackamas Town Center, a group of us gathered in the food court, by the tables people had huddled under when the shooting began. We were there because of an email sent out by my friend Lisa, asking folks to join in a caroling event to "demonstrate our empathy and compassion for those affected by the shooting. The message we wish to deliver is that we will not allow the darkness within a few disturbed individuals to extinguish the light within us all."
I'm not sure how many of us were there because of the email and how many shoppers spontaneously joined in, but over 150 people came together and sang. And sang, and sang. Lisa's plan had been to keep it short and simple--just the first verses of 6 carols--but folks didn't want to stop, and so we sang on.
It felt like a reclaiming of that space, a sanctifying of it after tragedy. It was the first time I'd been to the mall since the shooting, and it was a good way to return: singing.