Thursday, January 13, 2011

Easing Into Pain

I didn't start feeling the tragedy in Tucson until last night. I don't know why it took me so long, but it did. And it took other people's words to do it.  Maybe I'm so used to hearing about it; so terribly used to only just getting emotionally past a national tragedy when another happens, that I'm numb.  According to The Toilet Paper (my most reliable source of interesting information), there were seventy-nine mass shootings (defined as four or more victims) in the United States between 2007 and 2009. Seventy-nine mass shootings in two years, in one stable, first world country.  That is so much bad news to take in, so often.  It's no wonder I'm desensitized to the plight of my countrymen.

I pride myself in being an overly sensitive person.  I can count on my hand the number of times I've killed bugs that weren't actively attacking me.  I don't hurt things or people, and when things or people are hurt, even if I don't know them, my heart breaks afresh every time.  Or it used to.  I would like to think it still does, because I feel it now. I feel the loss of those poor people in the Safeway parking lot, and for their families.  For the husbands who jumped in front of their wives, for the parents of that little girl at an age that I remember so well, for the fiancee of the young man, who can't even claim the badge of widow-hood.

It took others' words to do this to me, though. I was fully prepared to flit through the headlines like it was just another tragedy, as if something like that exists. Every tragedy is a complete and utter tragedy, and I almost forgot that, in the midst of my busy, fairly self-involved life.

First I read an account from one of my bloggers that I read regularly, Becca, and then I read our President's words in Tucson today.  Both shook me out of my indifference; one of them made me cry.  There is nothing I can do for these strangers in Tucson except feel their loss, and do all I can to send more love into the world, into the collective unconscious, and into my own daily life.  So I guess that is what I will do. And encourage you to read the same words I read, and do the same.

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