grace and grief…

I’m not here to tell you how to feel. I don’t know how I feel in fact, facing the news that Osama bin Laden has been killed by us.

I suppose it was somewhat inevitable. I suppose it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone considering this was the oft stated goal. Where was my moral outrage when this all began?

I know precisely where my moral outrage was placed when this all began because I remember where I was sitting when the twin towers were brought to the ground that September morning. I sat nursing my 1 yr old boy from the safety of my couch as I watched the smoke and the confusion and finally the 2nd tower falling.

It didn’t feel real to me. It still doesn’t feel real.

I wonder if I am too used to seeing things like this on television and given that I don’t know anyone personally who was lost on 9/11 I think I have held quite a lot of emotional distance.

And that’s how I feel now…perhaps it’s not distance as much as it’s detachment.

For the most part, I’m partial to the pacifist approach to life. Generally, I hold that peace is possible but perhaps not probable. It’s a strange position, I’ll grant you that. It’s for this reason that I am finding little room for judgment about the reactions of the people around me whether that reaction is jubilance, outrage, fear or relief. I feel all of those in some ways. I want most to feel hopeful but I’m not there yet.

I’m not here to tell you how to feel. I’m not here to tell you it’s not alright for you to be glad or relieved or sad or outraged that Osama bin Laden is dead. I believe you should feel what you feel. There’s no need for my judgment or condemnation.

I’m not going to tell you how you should feel, what is right or just or “christian.” I would however ask one thing of us all and that is discernment in word and action.

Let’s be discerning about what we say and what we do, especially in psuedo-public arenas like Twitter, Facebook, on Blog posts….knowing that not everyone feels the same way, not everyone has the same reaction, let’s be discerning about how we interact with one another.  If someone is jubilant, let them feel this. If someone is outraged, let them feel that. If someone is grieving, let them feel that.

Dialogue is important and there will be a place for that, I am certain of this. Today, tomorrow, this week, this month…I wonder if we can just examine our own reactions- our own fear, outrage, joy, grief and let our brothers and sisters feel theirs. I wonder if it might make it safe for dialogue to happen if we let our emotions settle into our souls a little more and give ourselves over to grace and grief.

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4 thoughts on “grace and grief…

  1. Thanks for this humble reminder. I fully admit that I’ve been quick to judge those dancing in the streets & cheering. I’m full of angst today & don’t know what to do with my emotions…so I judge those around me to help me feel better, I suppose. It’s not working, though.

  2. Ang- This was so beautifully written. THANK YOU for taking the time to write this and address this issue. I am reposting on my facebook page. xo

  3. I feel detached a bit, too, but for a different reason. I guess I assumed he was always dead or had been dead for years and the Taliban/Al Qaeda were keeping his death a secret. At any rate, I’m sort of numb about it, but I’m not really in any position to judge those around me for their reactions. I just want to get back to a place where we treat human beings like human beings, and that means we recognize their emotions, though we may not always approve of their actions associated with those emotions.

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