In the Face of Tragedy

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Early in the week I was planning on writing a post about holiday traditions. Today I sit here with pain in my heart. The events at an elementary school in Newtown, CT make it difficult to even think about Christmas. The traditions for 26 families will never be the same.

How do we understand the reasoning behind killing six adults and 20 of the innocent children in their care? How do we explain to our own children that their school is a safe place to be and the adults are there to protect them? How do we reach out and help those who are traumatized and left behind to grieve the loss

I don’t have the answers to those questions. I do have some thoughts on what we can do in the face of tragedy. First, this event alerts me to how unpredictable life is. We all proceed through the day believing that we have tomorrow. How many times have you thought of doing something nice for a friend in need; visiting an elderly relative; thanking someone who has shown you kindness; telling someone you love them? But you are awfully busy this day, this week. Surely there will be a better time to fit in your good intentions. “There’s always tomorrow.” Is there? We don’t know that. If you have the thought—to do something, say something nice—do it! Don’t wait for a day that my never come.

Second, this event reminds me that evil does exist and it is in our own backyards. When it hits so close to home we can react by withdrawing and hovering in negative thoughts and blame. Instead of dwelling on what is wrong with our society think about how we can make it right. My daughter brought a bright spot to my day when she explained her take on this. “If we all stop celebrating the holiday, if we feel guilty enjoying a moment or our day we are letting evil win.” Her thought is that we need to have goodness and love prevail. We can only do that by living and loving the life we are so blessed to have. Evil breeds evil and love breeds love. So although our hearts are heavy we need to proceed with our lives and exude the goodness that we are so blessed to enjoy.

Finally, this event causes me to think that none of us, even those who have no connection to Newtown CT, will ever be the same. Tragedy changes us.  Seeing the American Flag has a profound significance for me since 9/11. As for Newtown, I don’t know yet. I only hope that for all of us the memory of this week, those precious lives, will cause us to act on our thoughts and good deeds, express our feelings to those we love, and exude goodness in the hope of triumphing over evil.

I’ve made it a point  to keep my religious beliefs out of my posts. Today I ask if you pray to a higher being please pray with me for the families and friends left behind. Roberta

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