Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Broken Hearts

I find I am still drawn to the photos of grieving people in Newtown.  I tell myself to stop. It feels voyeuristic and masochistic and additionally twisted in a way I can't quite name.  Still... I want to see their faces.

This is not a tragedy we will ever understand...20 children, 6 school personnel, and 1 mother gunned down by a young man who seemed fully ready and armed to do 100 times the damage he did last Friday morning in Connecticut.  But for upper middle class Americans like me, this might be the closest we ever come to "feeling the pain" of completely tragic and utterly senseless death. 

A mother dressed in a burqa in the middle of a cluster of dessert huts in Afghanistan holding the dead body of her child or husband or brother...?  I'm not sure I really get that.

A mother in line at a Kenyan UN food distribution center with three starving children by her side.  I see it.  I know it's real. But it is so far from my reality that...well, my heart forgets to break sometimes. 

My heart forgets to break over the 9+ civilians killed every single day in Afghanistan since the United States and the Taliban pitched that country into violent chaos over ten years ago. 

My heart forgets to break over the 15 people per minute who die in this world of starvation.  Not an unpredictable, uncontrollable act of personal or institutional violence, but an unfair distribution of food resources in the world.

I see it.  I hear it.  I forget to grieve. 

But these people in Newtown...they are suburbanites like I am.  They work, they play, they teach their children, they dream about the future...just like I do. 

And just like they do...

And just like they do...

May our broken hearts bleed compassionately and fiercely toward a real commitment to making all the world a safer and saner and better place for humans to live and love and laugh and dream. 


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