The American flags are lowered to half staff today. President Obama has decreed a moment of silence to be observed at 10:00 a.m. CST in honor of the victims. Along with the rest of the country, I'm at a loss to understand.
I was both appalled and saddened all day yesterday by the tragedy that occured in Arizona on Saturday. Twenty people shot at a grocery store? Six people dead? How is this possible? A nine year old child was one of the victims. For heaven’s sake, what is wrong with us?
I avoided the television altogether. I’m afraid I’ve had my fill of the ‘news’ networks, who really don’t give us much in the way of news, but continue to rehash and repackage old news all day long. Every network seems to place an emphasis on “getting the scoop” on other networks while ignoring the accuracy or ethics of the stories they offer up.
Anyway, nothing I attempted to do to assuage the grief worked for long. I meditated. Rather, I tried to meditate.I took a good long soak in a very hot tub, filled with every elixir I owned, from soothing lavender essential oil, to luxurious bath foam, to my precious gold oil. I baked cookies with my grandchildren…lots of cookies, ginger snaps and chocolate chip, to be precise. I played with them and read to them. I wanted nothing more than to look at their angelic faces all day. My heart was heavy. Still is heavy.
I’m concerned about the ethos of our country as a whole, and what it will take to turn the tide of anger we see being played out again and again…anger which gnaws away at our country’s character with each attack. As I told a friend, I believe that every individual is now called upon to turn the tide in our own hearts away from hate and toward love, and thereby collectively heal the spirit of America, which suffers so greatly today.
The problems we face in these turbulent times are not new to our democracy. Abigail Adams wrote these words to her husband, John Adams, in the late 1700’s;
“These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."
Where are our heroes and statesmen? Where are the great characters of this era? I hope they step forward soon and take their places alongside the other great heroes of American history. Please hurry...I’m not sure we can wait much longer.
Yesterday afternoon, as often happens when I’m preoccupied, a song began to play in my head, the words repeating over and over; “a place in which our children can grow free and strong.” James Taylor. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “Shed a Little Light.” I know it’s still a few days early for Martin Luther King Day, but this poem in song, meant as a tribute to him, could not be more appropriate today. The lyrics, in part, read,
”We are bound together,
In our desire to see the world become,
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong.
We are bound together,
By the task that stands before us,
And the road that lies ahead,
We are bound and we are bound…”
As Abigail pointed out, great necessities call out great virtues. We are bound together. It’s time to call out the great virtues within us so that the light can overcome this darkness.
Wishing you a light-filled day.