This last weekend has been filled with stories of love and caring as well as hate and anger. After hearing about the terrible tragedy in a Connecticut elementary school, everyone has quite varied reactions to it. Some hug their children closer and have found it difficult to send them off to school. Others have reacted with vitriol, hate and anger against all sorts of people. I read an article this morning by a man who was attacked simply because Ryan Lanza (not the shooter, the brother of the shooter) was his friend on Facebook. The guy didn't know Ryan, but assumed he had requested to be friends because Ryan appreciated his art. There were plenty of people ready to spew their hate-filled ugliness all over a random person because he was linked on social media to someone associated with an act of craziness.
There are arguments about gun control all over the internet; these come up every time there is a shooting. There are actually no good answers to that issue and as long as there are humans on earth, this issue will not be fully settled. There is talk about how autism is the problem; but that isn't a full and complete conversation either because we understand so little of it. We read about mental illness and though we all know that it is a problem, we don't have a good way to manage our way through it.
Schools try to erect protections for their children and install metal detectors; but those aren't going to stop someone intent on destruction. You can't legislate your way around problems like this and build enough lines of protection between us and trouble that happens in the world. It will just never happen.
There are no good answers, no matter how many pundits speak on news channels, legislators try to come up with rules for society to follow or people condemn the actions of those associated with great crimes. There are no good answers because we live in a world with people. People who are different and who think differently. People who were raised differently than we were or have different physical chemistry which may or may not disrupt what we deem to be acceptable thinking. We will never be free of other people and we will never know what might trigger anger or rage or fury in another person. There are no good answers.
And while it might not be the only answer to heal the pain of families who face loss, whether in a school tragedy such as the one in Connecticut, or senseless shootings in Omaha, child or spousal abuse, or any other loss that many of us have faced in our lifetimes, we must love and forgive.
Every expression of love that you offer touches someone's life. Every time you forgive, you remove pain from both your own heart and the person who has harmed you.
We can do these things. We must do these things. We must teach them to our children and live them out in our communities. We must share love with everyone we encounter, from the driver who cut you off at the intersection, to the harried clerk in a grocery store; from the annoying pest in our workplace to the boss who seems intent on making us miserable; from the neighbor who is much too snoopy to the woman at church who thinks she knows it all; from the person who shot up an elementary school in Newtowne, CT to the people we love the most. We must show love and we have got to learn to constantly and consistently offer forgiveness. It isn't fair, it doesn't seem right, it makes no sense when we're angry and in pain, but these are the only ways in which we can overcome hate and anger.