The world we live in can be a scary place. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and had an even stronger reminder yesterday with the horror of the school shooting. I think working in a hospital I get more than my fair share of reminders of how short or tragic this life can be. The night before the shooting I remember saying to Abe in bed, “It’s kind of scary, you never know what can happen. Tomorrow you may not wake up, you could get shot in a school shooting, fall from a ladder and lose your arm, become paralyzed in a car accident. Or that could happen to someone you love. You never wake up thinking, “This is the day that could change my life forever.” Or at least I rarely do.
I remember when I read about the movie massacre this July. I was shocked, horrified, very sad. I felt unnerved and a little scared. And it become that much more real when I had the opportunity to treat one of the victims in our clinic. She had gone to a showing in the adjacent theater. When the bullets started coming through the walls into her theater there was a stampede. She was trampled and her jaw was broken in the incident. Since she had no health insurance and was from Iowa, she was sent back home to be treated. It felt like a blessing to meet this woman who by a simple stroke of luck was just a few hundred feet from an almost imminent death. I felt like she was a walking miracle.
This time I feel a little numb to it. I can’t quite comprehend it. It’s almost like I have felt too much in the past and am past feeling. Instead of FEELING so much this time, I’ve done a lot of thinking. I worry a little about writing these next thoughts because I don’t want to be misinterpreted. But these are some things I would like to sort through mentally, if not only for myself.
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I’m not sure why it came to my mind as I haven’t seen or thought of this in years, but I couldn’t help but think of a short film I remember watching as a child called, Cipher in the Snow.
If you don’t feel like watching the clip, here is the main idea: within minutes of watching a boy walks off a bus and dies. I don’t completely understand the show from my childhood memories (and didn’t feel I had the time to rewatch all of it), but essentially from my memory he is a boy unknown to almost anyone. He went through life almost completely unnoticed. And then he just dies (of a presumed broken heart?). People are shocked at his death but even then don’t really have anything positive to remember about him.
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I find myself wondering how someone could perform some of these horrible acts. Are they truly evil? Or maybe just crazy? These are the easy answers. I don’t quite understand evil and I hopefully don’t understand crazy. . .
A less easy answer I wonder about is a haunting thought they maybe these people are ciphers in the snow themselves, except instead of collapsing in the snow, they make themselves known in a very dynamic way. A last cry for help, recognition, acknowledgement, showing the world the hurt they have been experiencing inside in the most public way they can imagine. I really don’t know. I don’t know what happened that day, or the night of the batman shooting or Columbine or any of those awful events. But I wonder if they were hugged by their mom that day? If the girl at the busstop said hi? If the neighbor asked how they were doing?
I do know this may make people mad. You may even say I am trying to take away the accountability for their actions. Or make excuses.
That is not what I am saying. I’m not entirely sure what I am saying…
But when I remember to hug my loved ones a little tighter, I want to try to also remember to be that much kinder to those around me who may be less loveable, may even be a stranger, or someone usually forgotten. I don’t think I will ever prevent a tragedy and probably wont change any lives, but I think a kind word or smile can go a long way. I hope I never pass up a chance to add that bit of needed sunshine to someone’s day.
It seems a little sad to say Merry Christmas with all of those presents that will go unwrapped under multiple trees and the homes that Santa will no longer have to visit but I hope we can find hope and peace in this world of trouble remembering the true meaning of Christmas, that a baby was born to “bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:4