Sunday, January 9, 2011
So, a Congresswoman shows up at her local Safeway to meet and greet her constituents. A friend stops by to say hello, a little girl who is interested in government attends with a neighbor, a staffer chats on the phone or checks messages. People come and go wth groceries.
A few seconds later the little girl and the friend who stopped by are dead, as well as the staffer. An intern for the Congresswoman uses meat department aprons from the supermarket to try to stop the bleeding from the Congresswoman's head; a bullet has travelled the length of her brain, on the left side. Someone has got to notify her husband; the President leaves a message on his cell phone.
At Mass today people bowed their heads to pray for all of these people, as well as for ourselves. How many of these stores can we hear? How many mini- 911's can we go through? When do our individual and collective psyches start to show the wear and tear that violence - and the media coverage of that violence - puts us through?
Timing that is interesting to me - through what we will call a "communications error" between myself and my husband Fred, today I ended up walking from Mass to meet him further down the street than I should have, not waiting for him where he asked me to wait, but forging on ahead on my own. So of course, I missed him entirely when he went another way to come get me, and end up cold, gloveless and shivering in the wind, with only a copy of the January 2011 Magnificat to keep me warm. Sitting near the railroad depot on a bench, waiting and reading about Christ asking the apostles to leave family and comfort to follow him, I was struck by how cold I was, and how we are all really alone, in many ways. This tragedy with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords illlustrates this, too - we must accept our solitary status, as much as we love and need others - there is only One that makes us un-solitary. We can take this love, from God, and let it allow us to give and receive human love, whether it is friend love, romantic love, or any love, even more deeply, more richly.
We can truly love these victims of this horrific shooting by first loving God, and accepting what He offers, and then offering our heartfelt prayers for their recovery, and for their families. We are haunted by the instability of life, and reassured by the gifts of life.
Really heavy, I know...but that's how life is. Tomorrow will have blue sky, I'm sure.