Like most of us in the US, I woke to the news of the terrible tragedy in Aurora, CO. The “breaking news” alert might have been what woke me at 5:46am. Breaking news alerts of this sort seem to come on a regular basis these days, so much so that I almost skim over them taking in words like Egypt or Syria, shaking my head, maybe silently praying for God’s mercy and then moving on. I had to reread the flashing headline a few times to take in the reality that it was in Colorado, that it was at a movie theater and that there were victims as young as perhaps 6 years old.

That desperation rose up in me, to know more, to understand better, to have an explanation. That desperation leaked out of my pores, through my fingertips as I scanned the internet for information. The internet is generally good for that, whether the information is accurate or not. I should know better than to read the commentary on news pieces, I blame the desperation for it this time, hoping that someone knew something more than the short news brief nearly ALL sources were giving. The commentary went right to finger pointing and pontificating. If it was mere question asking it would be one thing. If it was “I wonder if it had something to do with Rush Limbaugh?” or “I wonder if it had something to do with the Bain Capitol attacks from the Left?” it might fall under the natural desperation we all feel to know more, to understand better, to have an explanation.

But these were not questions, these were statements. When we state our opinions in public forums in the wake of tragedy, in an environment polluted already with political rhetoric, emotional manipulation and general uncertainty, those opinions stated as “fact” are dangerous. We already know how easily public opinion grabs on to the line of the day. We already know that we are at best, feeling some degree of desperation all the time in this country. It is not hard for a large population of people to jump to the simplest conclusion and then have trouble shaking loose from it, whether it is proven false or not.

My heart and my prayers go out to the victims and families of this terrible tragedy in Colorado today. My heart and prayers go out to the victims and families of those killed or injured in attacks such as this in every part of our planet. And I pray peace and wisdom and discernment for us all in the coming days.


missive: gratitude

dear one,

You are no stranger to disappointment. It follows you around sometimes for days, calling you by your first name. It knows every injury you’ve ever gotten, every job you didn’t keep, every friend you lost, every hope dashed. Still, you are willing to take it into your house when it comes around, let it tell the stories of the hardships of the world and feed it all of the food from your table. Some nights if you are not careful you find you are only left with the remains of what was meant to be a feast of joy.

Disappointment cannot be avoided as long as air is breathed and blood is pumped. Disappointment is simply a part of what it means to be alive.

But we cannot live on the left over bread crumbs and bitter wine with disappointment as our only companion. Disappointment has its place, certainly. Unfortunately it cannot fuel us for the path ahead- but gratitude can.

Though it may be hard to muster in desperate times, gratitude can find us when we’re lost. Gratitude can fill us when we’re empty. Gratitude can rouse us for that next hard patch of road ahead. You may be tempted to toss gratitude off the first chance you get because you think it is temporary, because you are afraid to hope, because you cannot trust that you will be alright in the end.

Please, hold on to gratitude.

Call it up when things are desperate, when you are so tired you can’t speak, when you are sure that disappointment is knocking at the front door. Call up gratitude and let it reach deep into your bones and remind you of where your flesh is anchored, where your soul is seated, where your love is located.

You don’t have to turn disappointment away from the table when it shows up uninvited but at least let gratitude sit next to you so that it can refill your plate. Gratitude will not let you go hungry.

don’t forget,

mrs m