Struggling to make sense of it

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The sound of the vacuum cleaner echoed in the almost empty room. I was at work cleaning out the nooks and crannies hidden by the furniture that was no longer in my house.

New pieces were coming today; the gift my husband and I gave ourselves for Christmas. My daughter bounced into the room and turned on the television. I kept working, not paying attention to what was on because I couldn’t hear anything with the vacuum cleaner running.

When I finally took a break, I heard the words, “shooting” and “elementary school.”

“What the heck?” I whispered, turning my attention to the news report.

As I heard the details of the story, I sat down in the middle of my empty room, trying to sort through what was going on. Out the window, I saw my husband talking with the friend who helped him remove the old furniture. I walked out to where they stood.

“There is something on television about a shooting in a school,” I said. “It’s really bad.”

The three of us talked for a minute about the craziness that seems to be so prevalent these days. Then the subject shifted from the story of unthinkable violence to the coming Christmas holiday because what else could we say or do that would change the horror of what happened?

Back inside, the reporter was still on, the pictures of frightened children clinging to their parents and police officers huddled together crying ran across the screen as he spoke. I watched for a few minutes, feeling a great pain in the center of my chest.

Then I switched the television off. What else could anyone say? How could it help anything for me to keep watching the endless accounts of what happened?

I went through the rest of the day, getting furniture in place after much arranging and rearranging. As pleased and happy as I was to enjoy my new room, there was this lingering sadness, this deep ache beneath everything going on around me.

In the days since that sad and sick man entered the school and took the lives of innocent children and adults, I’ve heard much talk about what is causing incidents like this to happen with what seems like more frequency. Fingers of blame point in all directions. I find myself wanting to join in and find something to wail against, something that answers why this is happening and how we stop it.

Today there was a post on Facebook from someone in the yoga community offering his thoughts on the cause of violence in our society. I had mixed feelings about his thoughts and expressed my thoughts. There was a brief discussion, polite because yogis do their best, I think, to be nice even when they are not in complete agreement.

The conversation was the result of people crying out for answers, people aching from the pain we collectively suffered last Friday. Then in the midst of the postings came a comment that, for me, made sense as I struggled to make sense of something that makes no sense.

Gia wrote.

“I think people want to feel they have control and they want to have a sense of security. Hence the pointing of fingers and the blame-game. Truth is– nothing is secure and we are in control of a limited amount of our lives. I think the most useful thing we can do right now is get still and pray, and allow that stillness to evolve organically into action — if in fact action is what we are called to do. Right now, people are in re-acting mode because of the shock and sadness.

“I say it’s time to get still and pray. Allow some time and space for waiting, for grief and the steps will be revealed. It’s time for silence and prayer.”

I agree with her. What I need now, what the world needs now is time to, as the Bible says, “Be still and know.”