It’s going to happen again. It always does. The horrifically tragic and senseless events this past weekend at the Tree of Life in Squirrel Hill are another example of evil rearing it’s ugly head. This one hit home for those of us in Pittsburgh more than others, but it’s not the first. I could list the times were the innocent were harmed. I could recount the times where hatred ruled the day. I won’t. It serves nothing.
Each time those things happened we asked the same question…why? Each time we pointed the finger of blame. Some times we directed our anger accurately, other times we pointed at those we disagree with, other times yet we were manipulated by misinformation and lead astray. From there we made declarations, promises, commitments, and either got to action or did nothing. Regardless, it happened again.
The only example I will give is after 9/11. Do you remember (if you were born yet…sigh, we’re getting old) how close we all were in the days and weeks after that day? But within months we were as divided as ever before and even more since. Then, more tragedies occurred. They always do.
So what can we do? We need to heal. No, not as a community, city, or even nation. That goes without saying and is beyond our control. As individuals. We are hurting and not just from what has transpired over this weekend. We are all hurting from a lifetime of hurts that render us damaged…different. They filter our reality and affect how we live, act, and react. These hurts damage our relationships and hinder our ability to live as we were meant to be. They lead to sin and further hurts.
How do we heal? We attach comfort to grief. We share life’s experiences with another. We get involved in someone’s life and hear their story. It’s never too late to begin to heal from the hurts of our past. It wasn’t just, “in the past.” It’s hurting you today. That’s ONE of the reasons why events like this past weekend hurt so bad. It reminds us of how we’ve been hurt and suffered loss.
Look at how much anger there is. Hate spreads hate. Look at how we want to blame everyone for what has happened. Look at how we make declarative statements about how this can never happen again, that once is too many, that this time we will make a stand, that anyone that supports x,y,z has no place in your life, and on and on and on. It will happen again, we will blame again, we will scream into the night and weep into our pillow.
“Love conquers hate” is another meme we send out there. It’s true, mind you, but we forget it all too quickly. We type that in one moment and begin to attack others politically, religiously, or otherwise in the next. When we blame the other side we are only putting walls up that thwart the opportunities for love. When we hold up the virtues of our cause so high we can’t reach down and love the individual.
Love someone near you. Allow them to love you. Go through life together heal. Find someone who can’t help themselves and love them. Don’t give in to hatred. That’s how evil wins.