The Denver shooting this last week during the midnight showing of the Batman movie has made me think of so many other tragedies in years past: 9/11, Columbine, Oklahoma City Bombing, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires. One minute all is well, or seems so, and in a blink of an eye everything has changed.
There’s a song from the musical Martin Guerre called How Many Tears, and I think of that song now as I stare at the television once again, watch events unfold, experts try to unravel the mysteries of an awful event, names and faces of victims revealed, and I wonder “How Many Tears” do we have to shed? How many times have I sat in front of my television and watched news reports of unspeakable events, evil played out before us, and tears rolled down my face? But they are not the only tragedies that I shed tears over.
Tragedies may be personal, as in a death of a loved one, a lay off, or a spouse saying they no longer want to be married, or tragedies can be on the national or international scale. But no matter the breadth of the event, the depth in our heart is like a meteor crashing through the atmosphere of our inner world and cratering a jagged hole that can never be filled. Tragedies change us. Sometimes tragedies cause laws to be changed or our shoes to be removed before we can board a plane or extra security precautions. I’m sure many can debate better than I whether these changes are for the good or detriment of our society. But another bi-product of change is awareness and compassion. Tragedies cause us to reach out a helping hand to those hurting and in need. Tragedies make us realize once again (as if we didn’t already know this) that no matter how hard we try to control our personal world, we are not in control and life can end very quickly. Every day, every moment, every breath is precious and a gift, and each should be treasured as such.
If you’re feeling lost and alone and overwhelmed by recent events, I encourage you to reach out a hand…to a charity, to a neighbor, to someone standing on the street who needs help. The only way to combat evil is to offer love. What are some of the charities you support? Or can you share a time when someone reached out to you and offered help?