Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Rule of the Day

A bullet discharged. Then another. And another. And another ... Blood, and a grocery store is transformed from the mundane to the horrible, hell on earth. People lay dead. People lay in hospital holding onto life.

What we know about the shooter so far is that lived in a fantasy of his own creation. Delighted with any whim that struck him, he struck out his self-created pod onto strangers. He hated a woman he did not know. He shot at those unknown to him, even as he remains unknown to us. He now plays the part of crazed killer for us on TV, Blogs, and all of our media. I will not name him, giving him power over his victims: Gabrielle Giffords, Christina Taylor Green, John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Dorwan Stoddard, Phyllis Scheck and Dorothy Morris. They should have never have had to have their lives defined by another’s violence. We should remember they all had love ones who are mourning.

Mourning. I remember the start of my last year at Seminary ten yeas ago this September. I remembered the stillness of those days as we stopped for a moment. My then brother-in-law was working near the trader center when the planes hit. He was lost to us in first few hours, only to re-emerge from the dust cloud that had been the pride of New York. We stopped. We look around us past the increasing pace of life. We asked why. We were shocked out of our usual games. One of St Benedict’s rule for spiritual renewal is to keep death in front of you. Those days after the horrible, the rule came to life not only for me but for the whole nation. We paused and reflected on who we were as a people and who we wanted to be. We were shaken out of our individual fantasies to the reality of the fragileness of life. We were kinder to each other, for a little while. It did not last long, perhaps a week or more, but for once we picked up our collective cross.

Now, there is a difference. Not long after the bullets, an opinion was voiced. Then another. And another. And another.... Shattering the silence. Even before the families have mourned, we have not stopped playing our games of who is right and who is wrong. Westboro Baptist Church, that harlot of publicity, is planning to be at the funeral of the victims claiming the shooter a messenger of God, trying to claim what they desire most, the public’s attention. Pundits give us an ongoing scorecard of who can score political points. What will this mean for the new congress? I know many readers at this point have their dukes raised to answer any perceived attack. Let them down for once as Gabriel fights for her life. Lets unclench our fists and clasp our hands in a sign of prayer, at least for a little bit.

Do not misunderstanding me. This is not, “Why can we get along?” post. Today, stop and kiss your child on her forehead, caress your wife or husband, tell your parents you love them. Today stop, and ask not who side will benefit, who is wrong and who is right. But remember the delicate crystal gift that is our small lives. Remember that love is the better portion. Remember that we are all ashes and to ashes we will return. One day for all of us the mundane will become something different.

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