What happens when we lose our innocence? by Andrea W. Doray

Andrea Doray, Writing for Peace Board MemberWhat Happens When We Lose Our Innocence?

by Andrea W. Doray


Things get lost.

One of my treasured black pearl earrings, a gift from the South Pacific island of Moorea. My favorite book of poetry, inscribed by my Auntie Mable more than 30 years ago. And the perfect-sized carry-on computer rolly bag. Seriously, where could that be?

In the end, though, all of this is just stuff. I can replace almost anything if I want to spend the time and the money. Or I can just enjoy the memories, which are often nearly as sweet.

Yet we have all experienced losses that seem too hard to bear—the loss of loved ones, the loss of our livelihoods, the loss of our dreams…and our recent collective loss, at Sandy Hook in Connecticut, USA.

Where do these losses go? Where do they reside until we are ready to face the fact that they are really gone?

And what happens when we lose our innocence?

Most of us associate innocence with children, with a lack of worldliness—a condition we start to lose as soon as we begin to acquire wisdom.

But innocence is a pearl we can carry with us throughout our lives, a way of viewing each other without prejudice, of looking for the potential for good in people and situations. And, perhaps most importantly, a way of looking at the world without fear.

Yet, what happens when this innocence is torn from us…at any age?

Where does our innocence go when families and friends are gunned down in a theater, when a 10-year-old girl’s monstrous rape and murder rip a community apart, when kindergarten teachers lose their own lives trying to shield children who are also ultimately killed?

Where is our innocence now?

If we are very lucky, some remnant of innocence is within us still, inextricably linked with our ability to on, with our willingness—however reluctant—to participate again in society, with our desire to reconnect with the very fabrics of our lives.

If we are very, very lucky, we find enough left of our own innocence to help others regain theirs, especially our children.

And, although our innocence—like our pearl earrings and our books of poetry—may be replaced, it is often not without great pain and great expense.

But we must keep looking. We must find, again, a way of living in the world that allows us some hope, some joy, some peace.

Just as we try to remember to put our earrings in a box and our books on the shelf, we must remember to take care of our own innocence, that we may find it again when we need it most.

 “Our hearts are broken. Our spirits are strong.”


Andrea W. Doray is a writer who believes that peace—in the world and in the heart—requires both wisdom and innocence. Learn more about Andrea here. Contact her at a.doray@andreadoray.com.


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