Maybe you’re not like me, but maybe you are. And maybe if you are, you also have an internet browser window sitting, waiting on your desktop.
Maybe it’s packed with open tabs each holding its own verbose, intellectual, and promising article regarding the recent terror attacks around the world, our responses to these events (for better or for worse), our treatment of language in crisis, and our compulsion to react as Christians (for better or for worse).
And maybe, if you’re like me, you’re still in a state of shock and disbelief—almost as if the train we’ve all been riding on has momentarily jumped the track and we’re all just hanging midair in slow motion, waiting for the pieces to fall. Maybe you also feel powerless, as if you’re staring at those falling pieces and just hoping they land so that they do not hurt more people or deepen existing wounds.
And so, maybe if you’re like me, you begin reading each of these fascinating think-pieces only to pause halfway through, sigh and say “I’ll come back to this later; it’s just too heavy for me now.” Maybe you also feel as if your shoulders never bore so much weight, as if you’ve been crushed by an invisible, remote grief from all sides, but must retain the façade of “handling it” as everyone else does. Maybe you haven’t stopped to grieve properly either.
Last night, I gave in to sadness. I finally let the wave of grief rush over me as I drowned. I let my mind rest on all of those who were and are being robbed—of life, of loved ones, of futures, of rights, of peace of mind, of safety—in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, cities all over the world, and on our own U.S. soil at college campuses and in our own communities. Now I am left in this cavity after the wave. I’m gulping in air and hoping to keep my head above the water. But what comes next? How do we react after grief? How do our actions moving forward affect the lives of humans all over the world?
As agents of a loving God, how can we move in such a way that will compassionately honor collective humanity?
Plot twist: I don’t have any of the answers to these questions. I don’t know what, specifically, we need to do. The problems of the world are webs interconnected and overlapping—how do we go about solving one problem without causing another?
Rather, I’m here in the trenches with you who are like me. I’m praying for peace and solace, for myself and for so many others. I’m praying for wisdom, for myself and for so many others. I’m praying that our decisions as individuals, nations, and international communities are ones of compassion, empathy, and love, with the utmost respect for human integrity. I’m praying that the seeds we are sowing now will be reaped as the bounty of God’s kingdom to come.
Which brings me to the most significant source of comfort I have found in these past days of tension…
Finder’s credit to a Very Important Person in my life:
Although we are weeping
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy
Restore us all, O Lord.