More Violence and All the Small Things

Being a mother has tormented me in a variety of ways, but the most harrowing fear I have is to someday not be a mother. To lose my child, in some way or another, to death. It’s a thought that has disrupted many a night’s sleep, and brought me to check on my son to make sure he’s breathing just for some peace of mind. I’m aware it’s not productive or useful to worry- in fact, it’s pretty much sin- but I can’t help feeling afraid something terrible could happen to my family.

That’s why, when I see headlines about yesterday’s shooting, I unravel. I grieve over the intense loss that isn’t mine, but could be mine. The loss of life is devastating. But then, I think about how many times I idly read about our government launching air strikes, our militaristic presence overseas, Predator Drones killing innocent people, and it is confusing to me that no one seems outraged over these injustices. Even while I claim to care passionately about these morbid international grievances, I am wrongfully desensitized to the pain of un-Americans. Here no one is being bombed. No one is beheaded. Few people debate leaving America due to corruption, gang violence, militaristic rule, or violent crimes from extremists, and certainly, no one is accused of being a terrorist for wanting to escape a volatile, dangerous environment. Should I be thankful?

Humans are tearing each other apart all over the world. I cannot help but wonder if the New York Daily News has it right: God’s not going to fix this.

But then… how can we?

Let me say that I’m not trying to be political here. I don’t have an opinion on gun control, and I don’t know how to change the violence, sadness, and fear that I and people surrounding me feel in their core. I only want to consider what all of the chaos of the world means for me- a basic Catholic white girl (to use the trendy college expression). Is it God’s responsibility to fix this? Is it mine? Can flawed people truly rid the world of malice and evil, even if they try really, really hard?

As I said- I don’t have answers. I have a trend of thinking. My trend, which could be right or wrong or unrealistic, is this: We can’t escape evil. It’s been around for as long as we have been able to record history. As simple as a lie or as annihilating as a murder, we are and always have been heinous. As a believer in Jesus, I don’t think of Him as a wish-granting genie for the world. I think of Him as the Savior of this place, and I think of Him as hope and light and truth amidst a world where goodness is scarce. I’m so far from being any kind of exemplary Christian- actually, I’m pretty distant from being an exemplary human in any regard- but I have no choice but to cling to Him in my confusion and worry, and to do (quoting Mother Teresa here) “small things with great love”. This attitude doesn’t make my questions evaporate. It doesn’t dismantle my fears or worries. It surely doesn’t end gun violence or bombings or abolish brokenness from a crooked world. This mindset only allows me to be giving to others, where and when I can be, and to focus on creating joy as opposed to encouraging hatred.

Maybe I should be doing more than writing a blog post about this- but at this point, I’m letting you know that if you’re confused, you aren’t alone. Companionship and dialogue might be a first step in healing and spreading some love for a change.


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