Angst. Just heart-wrenching angst. That is how I would describe this past weekend. There were moments of joy that I deliberately infused into my days and evenings. It was especially important to me to separate from the media mania surrounding the Newtown shootings. I am an old pro at unplugging from traditional media after I get the gist of the news. I find it traumatic and unfruitful to watch news of tragedy unfold. Yet, I found another challenge to my credo via social media. It was a weekend for hating Facebook. For me. I wanted to flee the medium. Forever. But, as any writer worth their salt knows, we cannot afford to do so. It is the new reality.
I found myself, as I wrote on “The Journey with Grace” here, doing damage control as premature reports linked the shooter to autism spectrum disorder–which does not include in its behavior planned violence. When I checked with Facebook two or three times during the days, I was happy to see the discussions turn to the issue of mental illness. Yet, how I joined bloggers in addressing that segment of the issue, didn’t sit well with everyone. I found myself trying to understand why some were in such disagreement with this widely shared post. Many discussions on many Facebook walls ended with apologies: “I’m sorry if I offended you.” We tend to write those words an awful lot in our online discussions. Sigh.
There were so many layers to this terrible event. The loss of sweet, human lives. The grief of the parents. Anger at the perpetrator. Accusations that he was “evil.” No. While I try to refrain from “good and bad,” “right and wrong,” “black and white,” “good and evil,”–if only life were that simple–no, the act was “evil.” Not the person.* And, oh, dear Huckabee, there you go again. What next? First Chick-Fil-A and now the loss of God in schools. Really? If God is omnipresent and omnipotent, as we both believe God is, can we really keep God out of our schools with our human legislation? Sigh. And then guns and access. Sigh.
By Monday morning, my spirit was weary, worn and beat up. Yeah, nothing compared to the real deal in Connecticut. But still the aftershock of how we as a country are warring with one another over our differences. I examined my own perceptions about other’s views. And then I got it: I was the problem….
It’s not about other people. It’s not about, like I’ve written “right and wrong.” “Us and them.” It’s about grace and freedom. If I can just. Back. Off. And remember: We are all on our own spiritual journeys, learning the lessons we’ve come to this life incarnation to learn. Just sweat if out. Instead of judgement and separation, if I can just remember to give space and come from that of which I am, a creation of the divine, from the field of love and compassion–the same essence of who others were also created to be. And, then, to breathe. Deeply.
*From “The Journey with Grace,” January 11, 2011, “A Disgrace to the Human Race–?” on mental illness and John McCain’s comments about Gabby Gifford’s shooter.