Now…?

I posted this last year at this time for the express purpose of guiding our feelings, raw and bloody, to begin to find their way back to our minds, murky and afraid and, as a result, begin the process of reintegration and healing. For Newtown…

Now, as we peer into the dead sky and from horrible places within us we didn’t know we could feel we say, what now…?

now, as dust settles and the terrifying picture of the new day becomes pungently clear…

now as brothers and sisters, their mutually constructed lego house still proudly standing on the cold living room floor, sits empty and unfinished…

now, as Moms and Dads, the shrill heaviness of grief still shredding their throats, their unslept, red eyes looking aimlessly forward to futures never lived…

now, as beds left from the night before where once a young life snuggled her doll, his teddy bear, sheets now cold and tousled with no more purpose but to wrap up more pain…

now, as a community, once certain of its place in the world, of its face and the sound of its collective heartbeat loses its own soul and its sense of decency and truth…

now, when the carefully crafted words of political rhetoric begin the inevitable ping-pong game of tit for tat, wrong and right vs. rights and wrongs, begins its forward march…

now, in a nation already riddled with divisions that cut to the bone, brother against brother, father against son, mother against daughter-in-law, in an insistent need to be right…

now, when rage soon replaces grief, outrage replaces reason and vengeance replaces peace…

…now comes the true test of Christian virtue: how to forgive and love one who turned an angry rifle on innocent, blind-sided children, teachers and parents. Despite what we all may believe on the issues involved, everyone grows up surrounded by those who support them or don’t, love them or don’t, see them or don’t. For reasons known only to God, this young man found the darkest places within himself and, from those places, lashed out in acts of unspeakable violence.

I write this from the quiet of my living room, both of my beautiful boys nearby, my wife enjoying the quiet of a Sunday afternoon. Therefore, I will not shame the memories of those dear, lost souls, ripped from their yet-to-be-lived lives, by claiming I have any idea what the parents and friends are enduring right now. I can say only this with authenticity, if it were me now living their hell, I would most certainly be shaking fists at both the gunman and the very God I serve who seemingly did nothing to prevent him.

And yet, it is precisely at such times as these, when fires are burning around us, when blank-faced murderers stare out at the world through dead eyes, when the cries of childless mothers are heard in the streets, when communities are forced to pick up the jagged pieces and rebuild, that we must find it in ourselves to stop the cycle of violence; not simply by changing laws of one kind or another; not just by delving into solutions for all of the maladies at play, whether social, spiritual, mental or physical, but to say with an unjustly murdered Jesus, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

Lord, have mercy.

17 thoughts on “Now…?

  1. Hampgal

    I’ve been thinking how many of the world’s chilren are not guaranteed tomorrow, either from war or disease. Now, we are not immune from those fears. The tiny candle of faith is a bright light in the darkest places. Have you ever been on a cave tour and had the light extinguished by the guides? I am pleading to be a living hope for those in dispair and hopeless. God help us. Christ prayed for us. The Spirit indwells us. Accepted in the Beloved in living hope. Take courage, dear ones, the Lord liveth!

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    1. Wow! Well said. To be that singular light in the darkest of places is to incarnate the glow from the one whose innocence and perfection shone forth from a stable, smelling of sheep shit where others could see their breath in the cold, winter air, but from where the world changed…forever.

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  2. Lois

    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” I can imagine his palpable presence among them, enfolding them, tenderly leading them from terror to a bright, warm place of safety.

    As for the tortured young man, let’s watch for his kind among us. How might a few thoughtful gestures have transformed his life?

    The grieving parents? May our prayers of compassion multiply into a great swell of healing. This is a sorrow that never ends. How I hope they know we bear it with them.

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    1. Dearest Lois, your words cascade sweetly down the ever-growing hills of mourning. This is a tragedy beyond all telling. Yet, with the telling, perhaps there may yet come understanding. And, if not that, at least redemption.

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    1. My guts ache for those folks just like you and me whose children, although safely in the presence of their God, no longer grace the world with their beautiful presence. Dear God, save us.

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    1. Penny-Anne, you ask a foundational question that sits at the bottom of all our pain. As I mentioned in the piece, I cannot even pretend to know what these poor, desperate souls are enduring right now. Hence, I suppose we seek to bear it with them. Healing? In time. Until then? We share it together weeping common tears of profound loss, “a voice heard in Ramah…”

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  3. Pingback: Do not lose hope… | Buddy breathing

  4. I hope it’s ok that I linked to your post, Rob… I deeply appreciate that we can join in our weakness and ask our God to overcome… whatever that looks like… at times like this. Amen, my friend. LAE

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    1. I’d be honored. I’m determined that, although this will and should have profound political implications, it is at heart, a Gospel matter. Only grace can ultimately heal such cavernous wounds.

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  5. Pingback: Do not lose hope… | Buddy breathing

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