and so few answers these days. So much heartache and comfort seems so far away. We are told by retailers and advertisers that this is supposed to be a time of joy, but it can be difficult to get there. I am struck by the contrast of watching news reels of tragedy interspersed by commercials for Target and Toys-R-Us full of good cheer; of reading a blog or article online, while around the perimeter of the page ads of grinning children and fancy toys flash.
Is it insensitive to celebrate the season in the face of such sorrow? Or is it our duty to embrace life ardently in gratitude and memory of those who are gone?
I find myself thinking of the families who have lost precious loved ones, and how difficult the holidays will be for them next week, but then I think, good grief, the next minute is going to be difficult. They’re probably not thinking about the holidays at all; they’re just struggling to make it through today.
And then there’s all the finger-pointing, trying to find someone, something to blame for these horrific acts. But how do you find a single point of origin of something so, so broken? We are so, so broken.
Here is a thoughtful, honest perspective from a woman’s first-hand experience of this brokenness.
I recently watched a movie called We Need to Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller. It was one of those films that has stayed with me long after the viewing, and prompted lots of contemplation. The plot is so very, very relevant to current events, and while it’s not an easy movie to watch, it deals very directly with the issues facing the Anarchist Soccer Mom and so many other families in our society.
And once again, I am brought to the idea of “blame.” Proponents of gun control are rallying forth. The religious are calling for a return of “God” to our schools and institutions. The “socialists” point to a broken healthcare system and inadequate facilities and services for the mentally ill. Of course, you have to pick one side or another – any middle ground is long gone.
The film looks critically at Nature vs. Nurture, another argument used by some – bad parenting, poor family life, etc., but, as evidenced by our Soccer Mom, it’s just not ever that simple. There is no one factor that caused any certain behavior or event. Each and every moment we live is a result of all the millions of moments that have come before – all of them.
So really, we’re nowhere closer to answers than we were when we began this. I honestly don’t know if there are any answers, and even if there are, this doesn’t feel like the right time to go searching for them, or the right time to argue for one side or the other. For me, this feels like the time to embrace life, in all its joy and sorrow, to be grateful for and celebrate all that I have, and to hold in compassion and prayer all those who are struggling to make it through today in whatever challenging, lonely, painful, angry place they find themselves.
But if you are wanting a mindful, insightful quest for answers, and comfort, too, I highly recommend Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People.