On Monday, October 2, 2017, I woke to the news of yet another mass shooting, the worst in our nation’s history. My reaction to this news was disturbing, because at first I felt nothing other than a weary sadness and a sense of “another one”. Where was the horror, the anger, the disbelief, the sorrow? Have I become so desensitized to violence that I cannot react to such carnage?
I know that one of the first reactions to extraordinarily painful events is often shock. We go on automatic pilot for a while, just to survive. Trauma does that, both physically and emotionally. As the week wore on, and the details of this event permeated the nation’s consciousness, as the stories of the victims and the lack of a known motive for the shooter became available, the protective walls came down. The tears and sadness followed, along with the need/hope/wish to do something.
So many times when friends or acquaintances or strangers are in need, when a death has occurred, I hear people say – I say myself – my thoughts and prayers are with you.
My friend, Beth Pattillo, writes award-winning romance and women’s fiction. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a group spiritual director. She can be found online at www.bethpattillo.com. Beth wrote a poem in response to the all the recent tragedies our world has experienced that spoke to me. She has given me permission to share it with Her Savvy readers.
What Thoughts and Prayers Look Like
People lined up at blood banks
Cases of bottled water and container ships with MREs
Mosquito spray and goggles and strangers taking in strangers
More than words on a social media account
A kindness done every day
Not for the feel-good but for the other
Quiet, when we examine our hearts and listen for God
Who will tell us whether we are the problem or the solution
Refraining from violent thoughts, words, and actions
A displaced shelter dog adopted to a new home
A cake for a neighbor who is a first responder or medical provider
A refusal to engage in hatred
Hands and feet that do the work of goodness and walk the path with
Those who are in pain, in need, in turmoil
Love in action, in practice, in point of fact—
A giving of self, a giving up of self
Unsecured existence made secure
Not in ourselves but in something greater than ourselves
— Beth Pattillo
May we all find the way to love in action in these perilous times.