Making Sense of the Senseless

The World seems crazy right now.  This week has been a never-ending stream of terror and loss and sadness-the Boston bombings, the Texas plant explosion, a blogger losing her special needs son too soon.

I continue to be grateful that my boys are too young to understand or notice any of this.  I don’t have to figure out how to explain evil and death to them, I don’t have to assure them of their safety.  Like so many others, I’m so glad I don’t have to do that yet!

But maybe it’s not the kids that need reassurance – maybe it’s us.  Look at your facebook and twitter feed.  It’s full of adults passing around Fred Rogers’s famous quote.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Maybe we aren’t trying to figure out the best way to explain this to our children but we are struggling to find a way to make sense of all of this for ourselves.

I find it hard to do this.  I find it hard to understand how someone can be filled with so much hatred to so something so evil.  I find it hard to rectify my belief in a loving God with the existence and randomness of loss and pain.

I’m overly sensitive to other people’s pain.  I tend to internalize it.  It triggers my anxiety.  Makes me want to lock up my family tight in my home and keep watch over them to prevent anything bad from happening.  But the fact is I can’t do that and everyday I send them out into this world of unknowns and step out into it myself.  Because that’s what we have to do.

I’ve started to realize that my sensitivity and anxiety has also been a blessing because if you look closely enough at pain and tragedy and evil you see that it’s surrounded by good and beauty.  The first thing I saw in the aftermath of the Boston bombings were the many people who ran straight into the blast to help.  As one family made the hardest decisions while facing the loss of their baby I saw outpouring of love and support and hundreds of acts of kindness to celebrate that little boys life.

If you spend time watching the news it’s easy to become jaded.  It’s so easy to believe that human kind is going to hell in a hand bag.  That evil is winning.  But if you look closer it’s clear that evil isn’t winning.  That for one evil act there are millions of acts of love and goodness.  That as human kind we are programmed to do good and to love.  That as long as there are still helpers and as long as we continue to celebrate those helpers and as long as we look for ways to be helpers ourselves, that we, as a species, are doing OK.

Unfortunately I don’t think we will ever live in a world free of tragedy.  I don’t think we will ever live in a world where evil does not exist.  But maybe it’s how we respond to these events.  Maybe it’s how we live despite them that really matters.




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