Saturday, December 15, 2012

In Memoriam

Yesterday I took the day off to watch our kids' holiday recital and to take them to Disneyland, so I didn't read or listen to the news or check my e-mails.  It was only much later in the day when I found out about the atrocity in Newtown.

My initial reaction was horror that something like that could even be contemplated by anyone and could befall any of us.  I don't pretend to understand how or why it happened.  I thought at first to keep silent.  In the face of the senseless murder of innocents, words seem so futile.

As I had more time to reflect upon it, however, I felt that the best way to defeat the unspeakable monsters who did this is to transform these incidents.  I believe these crimes were designed to hurt the community - not just physically, but as an attempt to sow fear, hate and dissension in the community.  That attempt cannot be allowed to succeed.  Inasmuch as these depraved acts were intended to demoralize us as a community, I believe the best response is to strengthen our sense of community even more:

- After 9/11 happened, I remember that there was such a strong sense of patriotism. Everyone in America went out of their way to be kinder to each other and to do something for the community to heal and become stronger.

- Similarly, after the mass shooting in Norway, which was motivated by Breivik's hatred for immigrants, Norwegians sang a children's song that celebrated diversity.

The perpetrators wanted to break the community's spirit but they failed, and on the contrary, the community strengthened. 

I hope that we continue to respond that way, and that we make it very clear to the beasts who wish to hurt the community that they will fail miserably at their objective.  They seek to create evil, yet instead we will have more love and kindness in our community.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.