I’ve sat back and watched the whole thing unravel into a chaotic mess of finger pointing and blaming and hurt and anger and resentment intermixed with threads of hope for peace. After a tragedy always comes a storm of dissension. The Enemy is great at detracting and distracting from the underlying effects of his destruction.
I won’t argue about the race of the boy or his mental state or the stark differences in the portrayal of his actions compared to others or a flag or guns. Because the truth of the matter is these things should be talked about but there are a lot of people hurting and when people hurt they either call for healing or strike out defiant. Self-reflection can be painful and tradition hard to change and when tragedy calls for a conversation that sly Enemy whispers lies and after all, offense is the best defense.
But why are we defensive?
We’ve lost sight of the tragedy, of the lives lost.
We forget to celebrate the girls brought home- where are the hashtags now?- and mourn the ones still gone.
We turn away from the refugees, inconvenienced by their suffering and pleading for basic needs for their children.
We cry in outrage of our brothers beheaded across the waters- but for how long?
How many days are left for this news to settle down and the media move on to something else, leaving that community to mend the broken pieces?
How great a love to show a young man kindness- both before and after incomprehensible events.
How much broken we are left to see and it is overwhelming and sometimes it may just feel better to talk about something else then to just sit in the broken places.
There is no need for a hero in the situation now. There is a need for prayer, for solidarity.
As a counselor I have the unique privilege of listening to stories. Many times these stories are not full of joy but of pain and suffering. And I have the honor to bear the weight of their burden, to hold it in my hand for just a little while to ease their load as they share their story. I cup it in my hand and hold it, not offering advice or lectures, just allowing them to see it from another angle, without the worry of carrying it all, and perhaps to feel when they take it back as they leave that it is not as heavy as before.
How I wish I could cup my hands around the pain and brokenness of my brothers and sisters in South Carolina, in Libya, Syria, around my sweet sponsored child in Ecuador. How my heart would carry that load with them!
In truth, I cannot be there. But I can pray to the God Who works all things to good- even our suffering, even our most hollowed out places of pain- and Who bends low to catch the tears of each child crying out to Him. Instead of pointing fingers or arguing or lecturing, I can sit in holy silence and pray and ask for guidance on how to respond in a way that most represents Christ.
I believe Jesus would cry. He wept for Lazarus, how much more would he weep for nine? I pray that I could have strength to forgive like that church, like Jesus forgives all who ask. I pray for protection for my brothers and sisters here and across the globe, that they would feel their hope and salvation coming- and that Jesus would deliver. And if He calls me to action- stirs up my spirit to go- I’ll go.
I am inadequate in my words because I have not known a personal loss such as this or the ones we see daily on the news. I have not known the hard truths and decisions that have to be made and I certainly don’t have the answers to the conversations that will ensue. But I have witnessed tragedy in my community and the healing that takes place in spite of it all, because love conquers all.
I will choose my response to be love. To those in the midst of the tragedy and to those outside looking in, like me. Perspectives impact response. Conversations are important but words should be weighed heavily against why I choose to say what I say and how it will affect others.
Speaking life not death, healing not hurt, and love above all.