Today has seen an outpouring of sadness and of prayer for the people of Newtown CT. And so it should be. The unimaginable horror, the loss of innocent lives defy understanding. But in the midst of such outpourings are those (including myself) who cry out “Why?”
Events such as the killings in Newtown challenge many of our spiritual beliefs in a loving God. True, that loving God can be found among the grieving of Newtown, comforting them. But some are still wracked with the question: “How can a loving God permit such things, especially where innocent children are involved?” I have no answer.
Sadly, though, this anguished time will pass and many of us will settle back into our own lives, resigning ourselves to a certain desperate powerlessness. What if anything can I do about such darkness?
As I look within myself, I can see value in writing to my congressman to encourage gun control. But perhaps this tragedy challenges us all to look deeper into our own attitudes about and condoning of violence.
It seems to me that His message of nonviolence is one of many aspects of Jesus’ words that we choose to ignore. How often do we indeed turn the other cheek? How often do I indeed attempt to love my enemy? How often instead do I lash back, arming myself “just in case”?
Perhaps I can honor these lost little ones by trying to embrace a peaceful lifestyle. And perhaps I can honor them by trying to in general be a more loving person, including being loving towards myself.
Indeed what I can do to help the people of Newton is limited. But perhaps I can do something meaningful by trying to heal my own inner violence. As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth/And let it begin with me.”