Monday, January 10, 2011

Grief For Tuscon, Part 2

In the upcoming days and weeks, there will be people talking passionately about topics like political vitriol and mental illness and gun control. Please do not begrudge them this.

Many people deal with grief by trying to talk their way out of it, and they do not always listen to what they are saying as they do so. Rather than make matters worse by confronting them, I hope that we will simply allow them to express themselves as we continue our own grief work, both individually and as a community.

The only thing that another person’s grief-stricken reaction should provoke in a follower of Jesus is empathy.


This morning, my own personal grief took me to this thought: Even if the ominous political atmosphere did not lead to the Tuscon shooting, could not the Tuscon shooting lead to a less ominous political atmosphere, anyway?

I fear it may not, but hope that it somehow does.

But there have been reactive, "This was YOUR fault!" statements hurled, and equally reactive, "Oh no it wasn't" statements shot right back. Each statement comes from grief, and I really want to empathize, though it is really hard to do so.

Some will say, "This was no one's fault. The shooter was mentally ill." They will say this as if it is an answer to everything. But that's not really my point, either. My hope is that we will avoid trying to explain it at all, so that we might have time to grieve.

Yes, something led to this. Some series of circumstances culminated in the unspeakableness of Saturday morning. At some point, we might have clarity about that; or we might not. Answers will either come or they will not. And so it goes.

Seeking comfort, let us not grasp for certainty instead.

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