Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the struggle of grief

Well, I've been a bit vacant in the blog world lately. I blame sickness and holidays and other whatnot. I would like to add lack of anything to say. Not that there hasn't been anything to write about, but sometimes configuring a plethora of thoughts into a concise document can prove difficult. I am not known for being concise.

That being said, obviously there was a major event in American history that went down last week. That is, a gunman entered a grade school and killed several innocent children and teachers and finally himself. It is horrific, it is senseless and a dark dark day in human history.

And in the past week, thanks to the news and to Facebook, I have witnessed the grief of my fellow humans. It took a comment by a friend of mine to realize that some other peoples seemingly non-nonsensical political raving, is most likely their grief. Whether I like their grief or not, its how they are choosing to cope.

And not that I am an expert in coping or grief.  My own mother passed away 3 years ago and I have still not allowed myself to go through the process very well. Grief is very scary. It is very real and raw and revealing and painful. I, therefore, dissociate. No more healthy than anyone elses.

Where I struggle is when I witness or hear other s grief become belittling or condescending towards others. Be it direct or in meta-messages.

Messages I have heard- in paraphrase...

1. As a _____________ (mother, teacher, school employee, father...) I am deeply affected, and have a different understanding.

2. See, this is why we need stricter gun- control. This is what I have been saying...

3. This is what happens when we disallow prayer from schools...

I guess as I write them, some don't sound so bad. But here are the meta-messages that I hear (through my own flawed filter)

1. MY grief is worse than yours. its harder for me cause I have kids or work in a school.

2. I WAS RIGHT!!! SEE!!! So this is clearly everyone elses fault, esp the NRA

3. Atheists  are at fault. Or luke warm Christians at least. God will leave if we push him away. God let this happen, but only cause we made him.

Each of these seem ludacris to me. And here is why:

1. As humans, aren't we all grieving? Unless a sociopath, we have all been affected by this in some way. My sisters don't have kids, but you don't think they didn't imagine it was their nephew? That they haven't conceived of or experience loss or pain or fear before? The context is different, but empathy can bridge a gap.  And there are people who work in dangerous situations daily.

2. I understand wanting to initiate political change as an outcry to a tragedy. I mean look at the entire civil rights movement. Good political changes came out of people saying "enough is enough" and taking positive actions. But I am sorry, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU OR CHANGE THEIR MINDS IF YOU SAY "na, na na boo boo" or "SEE I WAS RIGHT AND YOU WERE WRONG". Those messages usually make me want to dig in my heels all the more. Even if I am wrong.

3. And come on. There are so many places I can go with this one. But this is not the fault of someones religious belief or affiliation. I hate it when people act like God is a puppet and we get to direct him. Yes, I am a Christian. But I believe that this messed up person made a choice. God did not direct anyone. But God is with us in the midst of tragedy, even when it doesn't make sense. He was with the brave teachers, the first responders, those who have outpoured in love and caring. Whatever your view of "God" is. The God I recognize is the God of love. Not vindiction.

Putting others, their beliefs or their experiences down to validate our own in not healthy.

We are all trying desperately to make sense of this.

As we do so , may we HELP each other. Support and encourage and validate each others experiences. Grab a cup of coffee and talk about what we are thinking and fearing and dialogue. Facebook and blogs (I recognize the irony) and Twitter and the news disconnect us from each other in ways where we think it is connecting us. We were made to be in relationships. Give someone a hug. Send a letter of support to Connecticut. Say a prayer. And together move out of this darkness.

We ALL ache. We ALL grief. We ALL hope.

Wishing you all peace.

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