When we learn of a tragedy, like the gunning down of Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old Tucson girl, a whole nation mourns in confusion. Even though her death is external to our own system of intimate connections, it can still trigger many complex emotions and struggles.
Greater minds than ours have been challenged by such senseless loss. The question of “why?” will reliably surface in the thoughts and conversations that ensue. This is a normal, human response.
Usually, despite all the mind gymnastics we do in times of wrongful death, we all end up in the same place: We possess no true answers at the most fundamental level. Great philosophers, spiritual leaders, psychologists – we all join together in a human realm of unknowing. If there were true answers, we would all have gotten the memo by now.
In looking at numerous biographies and reading many accounts of individuals’ encounters with tragic loss, I only have one observation to share, one that has kept me anchored and grounded in the midst of many personal encounters with tragedy.
And that is this: When the impulse arises to ask “why,” take the next step and press into the major “why” questions of your own life.
The major themes of life could be summarized as: Who am I, why am I here (why do I exist?) and what am I to do with the life I have been given?
To seek some good virtue in this present life and make it our goal — that’s a fitting tribute to those who have died wrongfully. If one were to work toward a personal commitment to establish enduring peace, internally and externally, personally and corporately, this would serve to honor those who have lost their lives to senseless violence.
It is the only power that we possess in our choiceless state. But, it is a great power. It is the power of how your story and my story are wrapped with her story and with the many others who have left this earth far too soon.
What personal commitment could you make to establish enduring peace?
Kim Go 2011Tags: anger, Depression, guilt, signs and connections
Very well said Kim. After my sister was murdered in her home by an intruder, I asked the why question often, everyday, every hour. I still struggle with the why. I was told I’d find a purose, not a purpose for her death, but a purpose for myself. Purpose equals personal commitment. I’ve committed to getting some of the laws in my state changed. I did my research, I sent emails to legislators and low and behold I was invited to a meeting at the statehouse. I spoke up and said what needed to be said. It’s a start and I promise myself and my dear sister to continue the battle so others can live safely and not have to endure what my family and I are enduring.
Why ??? is a waste of time…. and energy…
Its only US as individuals that can make the effort to ‘stand up and be counted” every little bit helps toward establishing peace not only in our communities but in our individual lives…
Sonja, I agree that eventually the “why” question feels like a waste of time, yet it is utterly human to ask. I think it is one of those “meta questions” of life, but the answer does not seem to be revealed to us on this side of the veil. Once we get to that conclusion, often people fall into apathy. I am hoping that instead that people will recommit to the peace that you speak of.
Shirley, I am so moved by your activism. Yours is an excellent example of someone who has taken a sackcloth and ashes experience and really caused social change. I am certain that your sister is looking down on you with a loving gaze…