Have you ever looked into another’s eyes and had the feeling that something in those eyes reflected you? I have, and it can be deeply troubling and at the same time deeply humbling.
The events of the past week have been horrifying, senseless and beyond comprehension. That a seriously disturbed young man could murder, in cold blood, innocent high school students is an act so vile that it can’t really be processed by the human brain.
As a parent and grandparent, I can only imagine the pain the families of those victims must be experiencing. Their beating hearts have been ripped from their chests and laid bare on a stone alter to die as a sacrifice to the rapidly spreading epidemic of hatred, fear, anger, loneliness and separation that is consuming our planet.
It’s our nature to place blame, to point fingers, to desperately search for something, anything at all, that might for a few moments offer a slight balm to our communal pain. But all the non-answers we create seem only to bring about more anger, loneliness and separation. And the abyss grows ever wider.
The fact that each of us has experienced the pain of this enormous loss speaks profoundly to me. Were we not all one; each of us woven together in the great web of life, this event would not have cut so deeply into the fiber of every soul. I feel your pain and you feel mine for we are one.
All my empathy, and most likely all of yours, has been given freely to victims of the school shooting, their families, friends and their communities. But if my belief is correct, that we are each a part of every other particle of creation, inseparable, where does that put us in relation to the perpetrator of this heinous act? Could it be that he shares the same divine spark that enlivens you and me. Is he joined in the same oneness that binds us together? It is difficult to reconcile, but he is as much an expression of our Creator as any of us.
The eyes of another that I referred to are, in this case, those of the alleged killer! Yes, when his face appeared on the TV screen, and I looked at those expressionless, empty eyes, my first emotion was not that of hate, but rather it was an admission of guilt – shared guilt. We have failed him – I have failed him.
His struggles were well noted, but ignored. His history clearly spelled out that the path he was on would only lead to tragedy. Pain, loneliness and separation always act out in some form of violence. Other directed violence – lashing out injuring and killing others - or self directed violence taking the form of suicide or addictions or other forms of self hatred.
Worse than that we are failing terribly to heed the daily cries for help from thousands (maybe millions) lost and desperate souls. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, indeed I am.
Many of us look to the government, the schools, churches and other institutions, to handle our problems. It’s not working, is it? The change begins with me. I must actively embody the change I want to see.
The chorus of an old hymn is stuck in my mind, and just keeps replaying: “Here I am Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”
I will hold all people in my heart, no exceptions no exclusions.
Blessing, Peace, and most of all LOVE,