Monday, December 17, 2012

Avoiding Newtown

I was stunned when I heard the news on Friday afternoon as I'm sure we all were. I kept hearing bits and pieces of information as the day drew to a close, taking stock of what I heard, then something else would grab my attention and I would turn to the task at hand, putting Newtown on my back burner. On Friday night and into Saturday, I made several efforts to avoid hearing more news about the massacre, telling myself I would wait until the media sorted it all out and the truth and details that would emerge would be more accurate and not the result of reporters trying to get the 'scoop'. My avoidance of hearing more information concerned me. I began to feel as if I didn't really care about this and I wasn't sure why and then on Sunday morning I went to Mass and the real reason of why I wasn't glued to the TV all weekend hit me in the face.

The Mass was the most somber Mass I had ever gone to. Our pastor mentioned Newtown in the opening prayers and comments and my eyes welled as my throat constricted. I was on the verge of sobbing out of grief through the whole hour of Mass. As I looked at everyone's faces filing past my pew after they received communion, I saw and felt the grief and pain on their faces. Tears streamed down my face. I couldn't help it. I almost lost it and then I knew why I avoided the news. I just couldn't bear it. I just could not bear anymore bad news, tragic news that seemed to permeate my world in which I lived.

Despite hearing or reading the questions of where was God, or why was God not there, I knew the answers already. He was there witnessing the effects of a broken world in which man had free will and I am sure beyond all doubt that God was horrified at what He saw happen in Newtown, for if he was not horrified by it, as my pastor explained, I would not be sitting here in Mass worshiping a God that didn't care. 

We view God with our limited vision, and think of His motives with limited hearts and minds never really answering our questions during such times. We become angry with God when we are in pain. We may swear off our faith or cut our own noses off by refusing to go to Mass because we perceive God as uncaring when such crimes happen because we think we may be punishing God. I wasn't angry at all, but stunned and hurt. I put myself in place of the parents that lost their children in the wake of this massacre. I couldn't bear thinking of losing my children and put that thought right out of my mind or tried to.

After Mass, as I was getting out of my pew, I encountered a man that I see every Mass I go to and we just looked at each other. Nothing was said but again, our eyes welled up as we nodded to each other in acknowledgement of each others presence. Tight lipped, we turned to our own way and left the church as another day in this broken world was about to begin.


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