Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Washington it is not about you. Nor is it about me.

Our society stands in the wake of another senseless tragedy scrambling to place blame after innocent lives have been taken at the hands of another. News media have jumped on the chance to increase the attention for their views on the pain of others. Churches and church leaders have exploited the deaths of individuals to bring about a new sense of “awareness” of the dangers of division of opinions. Law enforcement officers, whose job is to be objective and gather only the facts, have held news conference to ignite our society by merely presenting opinions and philosophies in place of facts. Political leaders have rallied around the tragedy to push their own agendas and to place blame on their opponents. The President and wife hold a moment of silence and ask for prayers for the families, even when religion is not an important facet of their lives.

Can we blame them really? When I look at the tragedies in my life, when I relive the pain, I am thankful it was not exploited by others. While it is our human nature when something happens in our lives that invokes without warning a hurricane of emotions, shock, and confusion we all search for blame. Our conscious needs a place to put what has just happened to us in order to compartmentalize our need for understanding and to begin our mode of survival. We search our conscious to see if in any way we are to blame for what has just happened to us. We begin the “what if” game that helps us get through the horrible event that has just happened to us. This is usually done in private on an individual scale but when it happens in the context of a multimedia two second sound bit world it magnifies it for a grander audience. And whenever we are presented with a grander audience, our tendency is to express more than necessary, express what is important to us, and hopefully increase the volume of our message. While this is true, it does not necessarily mean it is bad but ineffective. When we are dealing with confusion, pain, and senselessness we are not open for new ideas, reasoning, or understanding. Simply put we tend to hold tighter our preconceived values, opinions, and prejudices when tragedy knocks us down.

My only option is to look and deal with the facts. The common ground we all can agree upon and begin my journey from there. A disturbed angry ill person shot and killed six innocent individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds, and 14 more were injured at a public event. The person who caused this catastrophe brought about immeasurable pain to many families, a community, and a whole nation. It is not about one political party or the other, a defeated Vice Presidential candidate’s remarks, talk show hosts, one sheriff’s biases, or sadly enough one crucially injured public servant. It’s not about strengthening our base, or rallying our cause, even if we are a political organization or a church. It is about many different people lives. The focus is about real individual’s lives which were uprooted and will never be the same and were permanently altered from that moment on. I can not imagine the guilt the family of the shooter must feel, I can not imagine the pain of the family members who tried to prevent their loved one from getting shot but were unsuccessful. I can live with the fact that I will never know the sincerity or what is in the heart of the President and his family, other elected leaders, or others who have an audience. I am saddened as I have seen this same tragedy played out before in High Schools, on college campuses, in workplaces, and even on an army base. I have come to realize that understanding, blame or reasoning may never be part of totality of the events. So I turn for me to the one place I find comfort. I turn to God not for understanding or where I should place blame but for healing. I pray for comfort to the family of Christina Taylor Green who was born on September 11, 2001, when we where faced with another senseless tragedy. As she was called the child of hope, I pray her family may find hope in the time ahead. I pray for the family of U.S. District Court judge, John M Roll, his wife, Maureen; three sons; and five grandchildren. I pray for the brother and fiancĂ© of Gabe Zimmerman. I pray for the family of Phyllis Schneck, her three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. I honor, respect and pray for Dorwin Stoddard as he died as he tried to protect his wife, Mavy, when the shooting started. Mavy Stoddard was shot in the leg three times. I pray for Dorothy Morris a retired homemaker and secretary who died in the shooting; her husband, George, a retired airline pilot, was hospitalized. I also pray for healing for all those who are recovering from life altering injuries both physical and mental. I also pray for the family of the one solely responsible for this tragedy. I can never imagine if my child was responsible for such a horrible senseless act. I can not imagine the guilt and pain they must feel so I lift them up as well. I turn to my Creator for not for understanding or a platform to move my agenda ahead but for healing. For those families involved and the society in which I live, I lift up my prayers of hope that we never have to experience this again.

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