Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Being a Better Friend than Job's

Last Friday's tragedy in Newtown, CT has left a whole community (if not the country) reeling in waves of grief. How could this happen and why? Could something like this be avoided? How can we protect our children? How can we stop such violence? The onslaught of advice from experts in crime prevention, legislation, mental health, education, family counseling, medicine, religious groups and the like has been overwhelming. Most of it is well-intended and much of it can be beneficial, but could it be too much too soon? Rain is good, a torrent can be deeply damaging. This becomes clear when some use the occasion as a soap box for their social or political agenda. All kinds of issues are brought up that have little to do with the horrific circumstances. Thinking we know much more than we do, we end up sounding like Job's friends. At least they sat with Job in silence for 7 days. We could use more of that. Pause. Weep. Grieve. Listen. Lend a hand, a shoulder, a hug. Of course there is much that can and should be done in the wake of this tragedy, but we would be better off if we were "quick to listen, and slow to speak;" quick to comfort, before rushing to cure; quick to feel, before working on a fix. Perhaps in tragedies like this what is needed most from all of us is to take the time to learn how to love well.

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