Whether it’s a national tragedy, a natural disaster or a local killing, sometimes an event hits a nerve and I become consumed.
I want to know every detail, search for every news update and have all the information so I can process what happened. Because of how the media is set up today, sometimes I regret finding out information that changes my perspective or see footage that I wish had been kept private. I think it started with 9.11 in high school. Most recently, the tragedies of Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon also consumed all of my time and energy and drained me emotionally. This week, a local tragedy in my hometown kept me preoccupied.
When these things happen, even from a distance my heart is broken. I grieve for and with people I have never met. I am angry for them, if it was a terrible tragedy. The emotional pain must be absolutely unbearable and unimaginable and I ache for them.
Why do I do this?
We all are sad to hear news events, which share the details of tragedies; but I am also confused, angry and in disbelief. My concern goes beyond the shallowness of simply reacting to a sad story. I am consumed by grief.
I think partly, we all want to know the reason these things happen. We need justification for our grief. What makes the mourning even harder is that often there isn’t an answer or closure to help us move on with our lives. Time seems to be the only thing that heals us, and even that is not the answer we desire.
These words from a funeral sermon speak well to what we experience each Lent in remembering the death of our Savior:
“Our Blessed Lord teaches us what forgiveness is from the Cross when He says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He looked squarely at the crime being committed, namely the execution of an innocent man who also happened to be God in the flesh, and recognized that what was happening was an unspeakable injustice. He knew that those killing Him did not have full knowledge of what they were doing, which diminished their guilt. Most importantly, Our Lord did not withhold His love from His executioners, but desired their repentance and return to communion with His Father.”
Jesus was an innocent man who had done nothing wrong. Yet, he was killed. But it was the promise of God, which had to be fulfilled through the death of his son. There was no justification for those who witnessed Jesus’ death. It was so awful and unimaginable.
But we have life eternal because of Christ’s death AND resurrection. In the midst of tragedy and death, a moment of comfort comes knowing that Christ paid the ultimate price for our eternal life.
As earthly beings, we grieve when our loved ones leave our side. They remain in our hearts and minds for the rest of our time, but life changes forever. What is difficult to remember, is that they are happy and with their heavenly Father, spending eternity with Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus, the gift of life!
Of course we still miss them. Innocent life was taken away from us too soon. And, there isn’t an answer to the question, “Why?”
In the moments of pain, when we are consumed by grief for loved ones or people we have never met, we need also to remember that we are consumed with the love of Jesus Christ as our Heavenly Father wraps his arms arounds us.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:28-29
As much as we want these moments to come few and far between, in them we are reminded of the precious gift of love from our Heavenly Father and the love we experience in this earthly life. Moments are fleeting and every one is important.
So when my husband asks me to stop what I am doing and run an errand because he wants to spend time with me? Yea, I am going to drop whatever it is, because it’s not more important than moments with him.