This is not a happy post.
Sorry. At least you’re warned.
I don’t know why the whole Connecticut thing got to me so much. They estimate about 160 children have been killed in the drone strikes in Pakistan. 160. That’s eight times what happened a little under a week ago in Connecticut. Eight classrooms filled with little children’s bodies. Why am I not more upset about that?
I think the Connecticut thing rips me up more because it’s easier for me to understand.
So I’m going to focus on that right now – not because the deaths in Connecticut are any better or any worse than what happens overseas, or that they mean more or less, but because it’s something I can wrap my brain around.
I’ve got nothing new to say about Connecticut that hasn’t been said already.
I’m so, so, SO very sick of hearing “26 deaths”.
Everywhere I turn – amidst the rabid debates over gun control and the availability of medical health care – I keep hearing about the 26 deaths from the shooting.
Pay it forward with 26 random acts of kindness. Stand on a stage with 26 white placards with names on them. 26 candles lit.
Etc, etc, etc.
It wasn’t 26, people.
It was 28 people.
Look, I can get why people don’t want to count Adam Lanza among the dead – although I find it a little hypocritical that people are using him as a platform to shout about access to mental health care but won’t even count his death…..but why does his mom no longer count as a person, as a death? Why is she not counted as a victim? Because she was shot somewhere other than the school?
I don’t know why, but something about that rips my heart most of all.
Anyways, I just wanted to take a moment and say that.
It wasn’t 26.
It was 28.
I was going to post that – and it would have made a more poignant ending to this post, but I realized I didn’t want to just end with that.
I know it’s been almost a week, so if I were trying to be timely with this message, I should have posted it earlier. The thing is, I wasn’t really planning on posting about Connecticut, until the whole 26/28 thing got to me last night.
So, in case it helps anyone else, here are some words that my friend, John Norling (the photographer from my sidebar) shared last Friday. Something about it really helped me find the beginnings of peace in my heart .
It’s written from a Christian perspective, so if that sort of thing just riles you up, rather than helping you find peace, then you’ve been warned, and you don’t have to read it.
Why did this school shooting hit such a raw nerve? I want to say it was because it’s so wrong, and so evil, but there are examples of evil everyday that I can read about with little reaction.
What happened was horrible. Yet it was no more horrible than much of what has happen in the long, ugly history of man. In the mid 90’s an estimated 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda. Most of them were killed with machetes, and often while UN troops watched. That was no less evil.
Every day it seems that bodies are found just across the border in Mexico, oftentimes without their heads, but that has become second page news at best.
That is not reality.
Where I live – in the time and place that I do – allows me to believe in the illusion….. until I’m hit with reality, like I was with the events that unfolded on Friday morning.
I have not earned my blessings.
No where can I point at my life, at what I’ve done, and say I deserve to not have pain in my life.
There is no reason that my children are home in their beds tonight and not in a morgue. It is not because I am a better person. There is nothing those parents did that would make them deserving of losing their child.
History is full of wars, and rape, and words like “pillage”. The Mayans would demand children from other tribes to offer as a sacrifice. Those mothers didn’t hurt any less than the mothers that grieve today.
All history is written in blood.
Yet we, as Americans, have been so blessed for so long we have forgotten that this life is a vale of tears. I am a Christian. As such, I believe that there is good and there is evil. The Bible describes this world as Satan’s home. Most of history points to that, but there have been a few, brief times in history that a group has been so sheltered from the many evils of the world that they begin to think that they can enjoy a heaven-like state here on Earth.
I had a friend who was in a class at Orange Coast College on Monday, September the 10th, 2001. The professor lectured that day that there was no such thing as good and evil on this earth – only what some people like, and what some people don’t like. On that Monday morning, the students sat quietly and took notes.
When that class met again, two days later on the 12th, many of the students walked in, angry, and told the teacher he was a fool.
We can only believe the lie until we are hit with the harsh reality of the truth.
Friday morning, December 14th, the truth hit many of us that we live in a evil world.
It honestly shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to us.
Ask any of the relatives of the estimated 75 million that Mao Zedong killed while bring communism to China about whether there is evil in this world. Ask the relatives of the 19,000 lost in the Japanese tsunami.
I am in no way trying to take away from the evil that happened Friday, nor am I trying to put their loss into perspective. It’s just…. for those of us on the outside, who feel kicked in the chest (even though we didn’t know any of them personally), I think there is a lesson. Our reaction shows how isolated we are from what so much of the world deals with every day, and what is common to history.
If we are blessed, we should adopted an attitude of “blessed to be a blessing”. I have heard people use the phrase “count your blessings” before. In the past, I’ve only thought about it as counting the good things that have happened to me.
The cancer I haven’t gotten.
The children that I haven’t lost.
No where can I point to my life and say I deserve to not have pain. I am not trying to cover all the, “How can a good God allow this” type questions writing this. I’m just sharing that I was convicted as I thought about what had happened, and I realized I had taken my eyes of the goal.
This is not my home.
This life will pass in a moment, and only what I have done that affects souls will matter, because only they will last. I need to be more focused on the eternal.
By keeping the eternal in focus I will see this world for what it is/
It will be easy to be obsessed with this story and get glued to the news.
I am going to choose a different path. I am going to focus on who I can bless. I get to go help at a Christmas party this Saturday, taking Christmas pictures for abused women and children. They don’t need more sorrow.
Also, I want to do more then just hug my kids. I want to teach them that none of us knows how much time we have, but we should spend what time we do have affecting those around us.
I want them to understand that there is evil in the world— and yet even still they should be able to find joy.