April 16th, 2021
Much has been written and said about the de-sensitizing of our society towards violence. It seems that rarely a day goes by where we hear of and see the videos of a mass shooting and other acts of violence and destruction. It is as if we are becoming increasingly numb to killing. How do we process this, we ask ourselves. Perhaps as part of our survival instinct we do not allow these actions to effect us on a personal level. Sure, we feel the emotions that these reports bring: sadness for the families who have lost someone, anger at the perpetrator and frustration about what can be done. But we often times do our best to keep them from going any farther.
I must confess that in my comfy little spot in Central New York, much of the terror of this violence seems far off. From my easy chair I watch the news and empathize with the hurting, but what can I do about these events that seem to be overwhelming and unmanageable, and so far away?
My little bubble burst a few nights ago as an eleven month old baby was shot and killed a few short miles from me in Syracuse. You read that right, an eleven month old child. One car passed another and opened fire, striking the kids in the backseat, mortally wounding the one.
Eleven months old. I still cannot get my heart and mind fully wrapped around that. The innocence and trust of a little one blown away in a hail of bullets.
I must admit, I am not de-sensitized to this terrible act. Having raised two kids and been part of many other families as they raise theirs, the thought of having that little life snuffed out breaks the heart.
As I watched the report on this tragedy, one official was interviewed who said something that has resonated with me since. He was asked, “What can we do to stop this senseless killing?” His reply, “Until we stop de-valuing human life, nothing can be done.”
There it is. I believe this person has it exactly right. Until we can simply look at another person and understand that they are of great value, no community action program or gun amnesty proposal will lessen the violence in our streets and across the country.
I know it will not be easy or quick, but this must not stop us! We as a society have been on this downward trend for some time now. It is time for each of us, all of us, to stand up to this darkness with the only true weapon we have: Love.
May we all see our neighbors, both near and far, as the precious human beings that they are. This value is intrinsic to all God’s creation. Let us be intentional in seeing it in others.
I realize this sounds a bit like I have my head in the clouds and that the prevalent problems of today are just going to go away by simply being nice to one another.
But on the other hand, why not start there. Why not become part of a grass-roots movement that places equal love, care and concern for all people, simply because they are people.
We must, as a society, re-educate and re-orient ourselves. You and I can make a difference in our little parts of the world. Let us lead by example, recognizing and celebrating the value of all others as we together traverse this life.
The following is from the Twenty-Four Hours a Day book published by Hazelden. Appropriately, it is the Meditation for the Day, April 16th. I believe it clearly makes the point I have tried to above.
I must try to love all humanity. Love comes from thinking of every man or woman as your brother or sister, because they are children of God. This way of thinking makes me care enough about them to really want to help them. I must put this kind of love into action by serving others. Love means no severe judging, no resentments, no malicious gossip, and no destructive criticism. It means patience, understanding, compassion and helpfulness.
Be blessed and be a blessing,