Cross posted at Raising Kaine
Ecclesiastes assures us that there is a season and a time for everything under the heaven. A time for war and a time for peace; a time to weep and a time to laugh; and a time to mourn and a time to dance. There is also a season and a time to heal.
I am uncomfortable with phrases like “we have to move on” though. To me it feels more like moving into a different space, one of gradual healing. Let’s take it slow. There are no timelines to the grieving and healing process and just as each of us grieves differently, each of us will heal at our own pace.
But healing often doesn’t happen without some will to do it and some tangible acts that help move the process along.
One suggestion – and it’s the same one that was given after 9-11 – is to turn off the television. Stop flooding yourself with waves of images and sounds of the tragedy or you’ll eventually drown in them. Get out of your homes and out of yourselves.
At times like this, people need connections and not just virtual ones. Until now, the blogs have provided many of us with a place to come together to grieve, to vent, and to feel connected. A special thanks has to go to Ben Tribbett for his Not Larry Sabato, and to Raising Kaine, for providing places for people from across Virginia to come together and to feel like they are part of a larger community.
But it’s time to turn the computer off too because it can’t take the place of real human contact. One of the things that struck me about Cho Seung-Hui was how radically disconnected he was to those around him. Unlike in high school where, the word is, he was bullied and laughed at, it seems that people at Virginia Tech tried to reach out to him and he kept refusing every offer of kindness from teachers and students. By the time he reached VT he was already so badly damaged that they couldn’t reach him.
Yet, connectedness is the best antidote to despair and anger. It blesses you with empathy for others. It’s what makes us human. Its total absence is what turns us into monsters.
That doesn’t mean that everybody has to be a joiner or an extrovert. There are plenty of introverts, people who prefer privacy and small intimate gatherings with fewer people to large parties and big crowds. That’s very different from somebody being completely disconnected from all people. Introverts often have satisfying relationships and deep connections though with fewer people. It’s the crowds they don’t feel comfortable in.
But every human needs some connection to others. And every human being needs hope. So, if you have not yet been to one of the memorials, see if there’s something to attend so that you will be surrounded with others like you who still have grief to work through. The good thing about all of these memorials is that for all the tears, they also leave you with a sense of hope in the goodness of other people and a sense that evil will not overcome goodness and mercy.
If you’ve missed the memorials in your area, go to a church or synagogue or mosque or temple this weekend. I’m sure they all will acknowledge this terrible tragedy and share the sadness as a community. And they too will not let evil be the final word. They will lift you up and carry you out on a hopeful note.
Finally, be with your family and friends. This promises to be a gorgeous weekend across Virginia, warm weather, and sunshine, the beginning of spring. Go out for a hike, play ball, go on a picnic. Enjoy those you love. Give them a hug and savor every moment with them.
The very best way to honor those who died tragically is to continue to live in love while carrying their memories in your heart. That way evil does not triumph. We will have beaten it. We will have prevailed.
I’ll see you all next week!