Three weeks since a post. I am feeling at a dead end as far as what to write on this here blog. I'm in the doldrums between the tropics on the great circumnavigation that is my life. I'm moving, but only very slowly, mostly just keeping from going backward. I'm trying to figure out where the wind will come from. (Now I really want to watch Master and Commander). One friend has structured her blog around the things she wants her children to know before she dies, but doesn't want to wait till she's on her deathbed to tell them. I like that. I like the idea of writing my inner landscape rather than my outward activities. When I thought in those terms on this day, here is what I came up with:
About the tragedy in Connecticut on December 14, 2012:
(On Friday, December 14, 2012, a disturbed individual went into an elementary school in Sandy Point, CT and gunned down some 26 individuals, most of them children. Before this action, also shot his mother.)
It's a sort of left-handed blessing that we in this country are still horrified and shocked by destruction on this level. It means our society really isn't as sideways as we might think. We still share a common and concrete idea of what is right and what is wrong. In other places on the earth, this kind of thing happens and no one notices.
So, I'm somehow grateful this is affecting us deeply, as it should. However, don't let this shake your faith in humanity or in the system in which we live. People are so diverse and so complicated. This kind of thing has been happening since the beginning of human history. It is difficult to put words around how it makes us feel collectively, and that is appropriate. It's right that our hearts should be breaking and our minds reeling at the reminder that evil exists in the world, but it's not right that we should shake our fists at the heavens or the universe and complain that this should never happen. That wish is neither logical nor possible. Institutional controls over guns or different rules about mental illness wouldn't have entirely prevented it. He would have built a bomb or slit his wrists or used a sledge hammer or something else and the tragedy would have been just as profound, if even just for him and his family.
We signed up for freedom in this life. We knew before we were born that things like this would happen. Actually, if they didn't happen, we'd be the worse for it because we'd lose all the opportunities we have for growth, for deep thinking, for faith, and for meaningful action. We have the choice before us right now to be positively or negatively affected by this most recent stimulus. Will we change? Will we value our relationships more closely and notice those on the fringes of life and look into their eyes and pray for opportunities to help them? Will we learn more about mental illness and atypical ways of processing and not marginalize those individuals but draw them in if possible (or forgive them for the chaos they bring if not possible)? Will we be able to accept that in a free society, there must be opposition? Will we be willing to sacrifice time and personal desires to strengthen families? Or will we be horrified for a while, let fearfulness creep into our souls, wish to retreat from society, pull our kids out of school, then eventually go back to whatever it was we were doing before?
What are you stuck on in your horror and grief? If you're worried about the children, don't. They are going to be okay. They will lose none of the blessings that would have been theirs in this life. I honestly believe that. If you're worried about the families left behind, do something. Put more love out into the world. Send them a card. Donate to a fund to help with expenses or to honor the heroes of the day. Love your own family as you should. If you're worried this could happen to you, well, you're right. It could. But instead of being consumed by the fear of that fact, you can be ready for anything by strengthening your spiritual side, by learning to love better, by learning who God is and what He is really like.
It's all up to us. If we want to truly grieve with the families of Connecticut, including that of the killer, we must look inside ourselves and wonder what we can do differently in our individual lives to learn from this. Looking to the government or society won't effect any lasting response. Only we can change our attitudes, our level of faith, our willingness to work and participate in God's plan for us, and our daily choices. If we don't change in some way, even if it is a small, invisible-to-anyone-else way, this particular opportunity for growth is wasted and all that's left is anger, hate and discord.
Then, evil wins. Don't let it.