Friday, December 28, 2012

Thoughts on Newtown: Never Looking Away

So a couple weeks ago America took a big shot to the gut.  Anyone who had any connection to the world outside heard about he shootings in Connecticut. And just like the rest of the world I was shocked to hear the news...the horror that could befall a nation...as several lives were snuffed out at once.

That weekend was already hard for me. That Sunday I was going to be taking the stage with a wonderful group of kids in our Church's Christmas play. These kids were amazing and even though they were just beginners in their journey in the arts they had worked so hard to make everyone proud.

I don't care who you are or where you are. Tragedies like this hurt. You most likely didn't know the the victims and their families. You never can understand the kind of hurt that these people are going through. But you do know people. You do have or know children that are very close to you and the very possibility that this kind of thing can happen reminds you not of your mortality but the knowledge that your life is so short and that sweet innocence in your life can be lost instantly.

I saw a lot of the ways people reacted online. And I'm going to bite the bullet and say that neither reaction was completely wrong. Some people bring anger, some people bring tears, some people only bring more questions to the table. All reactions are welcome and bringing them to the forefront so that the world can process them is good.

But some of the people that I kind of envied were the people who chose to stay in denial. The ones that chose not to look at the footage, read a paper, or hear about the tragedy. These were the people putting their backs to the world and refusing to move forward in their grief. Refusing to accept that they don't have all of the answers and seek to find just a few more.

I forget who said it but one of my favorite quotes is "The true artist never looks away". No matter what the turmoil, the personal hurt, and the heart ache, the artist must force himself to watch and feel and PARTICIPATE in the world that he lives in. I pitied those people because they got to choose not to see it. They could choose not to face the emotions and grief tapping them on the shoulder. And the true artist can't make that choice. In our guts we can't not watch.

My heart goes out to all the families and friends of the victims. My heart goes out to all of those who weren't involved but are feeling their own version of survivor's guilt and hugged their children and loved one's tightly because you knew how fragile life could be. When we were done with our performance at church our pastor prayed and we took the time to lift up the families and victims in prayer. And then we and the kids had a big group hug. We didn't know where we were going but we did know that with God's help we could move forward.

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