The morning after the tragedy in a Connecticut elementary school and I find myself, as many others in our society, mesmerized by the question “why?”
I see commentaries on the gun laws and I know there are valid points on both sides. Isn’t that true of most polarizing issues? Guns in our society are too easy to get and yet they also have prevented other tragedies because someone used them to stop additional harm. No matter which side of the debate one sits, in the end, it isn’t the weapon but rather the hand that it’s in that matters.
And so I look at the hands and hearts of those who create such terror in this world. I notice it’s often not the one that people suspect would do such a thing. They are quiet or intelligent or otherwise anonymous people who turn in some moment of madness to a violence that not only shatters their life but the lives of innocent people existing within their reach.
If we peel the onion a little deeper I’m sure we will find that once again this is a person who suffered a life where they didn’t fit in. Their heart wasn’t raised to hate but rather learned to hate by the subtle ways that people were cruel to them or shunned them. And the why becomes clearer. Not the why of the choice of victims – that we will never know. But the why of the hatred and destruction of their soul to a point that slashing the love of anyone else seems like the only way to fight back.
Our society doesn’t seem to care about why until the tragedy strikes. In spite of the previous tragedies, we still tolerate bullying. We still applaud reality shows that egg on fighting and ridicule. We fill movie theaters and game stores to flood more and more violence into our daily lives. We become callous to the violence that we let in until the unthinkable, massive violence finally hits our consciousness. And for a time we step back and love more and forgive more as a momentary way to soothe our pain.
The why isn’t that some madman hated children. The why is that he felt hated.
And what do I think we can do about it? Love. Love is always the answer. Love the children who are different. Love the people who create positive role models and positive toys, and positive consequences. Love enough to accept differences vs. fighting against them. Love people so that they see a different answer to how to end their sorrow. We haven’t arrived at this morning after quickly. We have arrived here over years of degrading the support systems of love in our way of living. We take love of neighbor out of our way of living – heck many of us don’t even know our neighbors anymore. We teach intolerance of religions vs. acceptance of religions. We tolerate the hatred of symbols of love instead of sharing any and all symbols of love. We tolerate the degrading of our societies support systems. We value the dollar more than we value the help for those who are sick – mentally or physically. We choose to punish vs. forgive. We choose to strike vs. listen. We find ourselves here today because a little at a time we loosened our grip on values that put people first. We stopped loving in order to do what? Own more? Not offend? Compete? I don’t know why we let this happen but I know that our society has.
If that man had known that he was loved, in my heart and soul I believe this morning would have been very different. And now his heinous act makes it intolerable to think we, as a society, could have played any part.
And so I pray that love returns. I pray that we finally get it. I pray that I remember in my day to day life to no just love those I choose but those that I see who appear unlovable. May my conscious choice to love in some way ripple into the world to save someone else from creating or living a personal day of mourning on the morning after.
Let us pray. Let us love. Let us be blessed!