Monday, June 13, 2016

Finding Our Helpers in the Wake of Tragedy

Dear Friends,
Death in places of play, enjoyment and community gatherings was in the very air we breathe during this last weekend. The drownings and the hot air balloon accident at Letchworth, the nightclub shootings in Orlando. Lives snuffed out and other lives touched to the quick.
What do we make of all of this? How can we go on with cheer, verve, delight, determination? Where do we turn?
The friend of many, Mr. Rogers, told how he handled things beyond him in his youth: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
How do we help each other through this weekend with unexpected death so close to us? Who are our helpers?
One set of helpers are the thoughts and convictions that we cultivate and carry in our minds:
                Whoever dies never dies alone. God holds the dying one close.
                God weeps when death snuffs out life in an untimely way.
                God never wishes the untimely or violent death of a person, since each person is made in    God’s very image and likeness.
                God does not scorn any person, even though we scorn some, judging them to be evil.
Just as we require helpers to see us through the difficult and destructive times of life, we need to be helpers to others:
                Sitting in silence with a pain-filled person.
                Eye contact that says “I am for you and with you”.
                The telling of one’s own convictions.
We cannot undo the deaths of the weekend, but we can treat people around us with dignity, not bad-mouthing whole categories of people but letting others know that goodness far exceeds evil in the unfolding of life.
~ Sister Joan Sobala