Usually when I read of a tragedy as it rolls across national news, I have no tie to it. You look at it and you sorrow. Empathy is one step removed. And I would say that is as it should be. Over identification with a sad thing isn’t healthy.
But this sad thing touched acquaintances of mine. The situation happened in a community that is enough like pieces of my vida local that it was possible to see a bit more clearly, if still not experience, the shock and devastation such violence would bring to a community.
I imagine: A man (in this case) did a horrible thing. Just a bit ago he was one of us. Just a bit ago, I hugged him after he said what he felt. And then this man whom I had hugged did something so indescribably monstrous. And what he has done can not be mitigated.
It roils the soul.
So I look at this little church and this community and sorrow for them. I send them all the Love, all the Prayers I can muster. What was done was the work of an insane man. If we had better mental health services could this tragedy have been averted? I don’t know. And aren’t such thoughts ways to look away from the pain? There’s no way national laws can stop a solitary act of madness. The reality of that helplessness is awful.
What we do know is that their holding on to one another; their acknowledging that what is true is true, their sorrowing for the mother of this child and for themselves; and I would add for the man who did this heinous, heinous act so vile that he will forever be outside the embrace of society, this is the only way to any sort of healing. I wish them Peace. I know it will be a long time before they can feel it enfolding them. And so I must bear witness to the excruciating pain and stand firm in my willingness to see them. And I must do so without taking on their pain which is not mine, except oh, so abstractly, and at the same time live with a fact I often push away… there is such brokenness among us.
I wish us all Peace.