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Broken Heart

Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2012, at 10:42 PM

Trying to share my heart with you I usually write in the third person, tell a story, and plant the seed of an idea for further thought and close with a brief prayer. It is my "formula" for writing. However, after the events of the last week, my mind has no cute stories to tell. By the time the paper came out with the latest edition of this column our safe, complacent world was turned to focus instead on horror, death, heroism, and the loss of such innocent lives.

It is easy to get angry with the young man who actually pulled the trigger. It is easy to place blame. It is easy to point fingers at guns as the root of the problem. We lay blame at the feet of mental health providers for not fixing this child. Some point blame at his mother--for having guns, for allowing him to be who he was, for not fixing him. We blame our politicians, the NRA, the creators of violent video games or anyone who breathes and is within our personal crosshairs.

What good does that do us? Will our anger--our accusations bring back the lives of twenty innocent children, the teachers who tried to protect them, the mother of the shooter, or the shooter himself? Will our outrage cause us to take positive action?

We only seek to blame others. We are not willing to open ourselves to the pain of discovering that we had a part in this horrid tragedy. We are not willing to step out of our own lives, concerns, comfort zones and walk in the shoes of another person. Instead of opening our hearts to others we myopically grope through our days with only ourselves, our wants, our concerns.

Personally, I don't have that luxury. I am the mother of a special needs person. Reading the descriptions of Adam Lanza reminds me that there, but by the grace of God, goes my child. I have walked the hard road as well as held the hand of friends when they had to call the police to subdue their out-of-control child; or make the hard decision to institutionalize their child. I thank God for every teacher, every therapist, every person who was willing to look beyond my child's disability and see the person trapped inside who now thrives as a young adult--the same age as Mr. Lanza. His action has broken my heart. I grieve for those precious children. I grieve for the adults who selflessly gave their lives protecting them. I grieve for the mother who gave her life trying to help her child. I grieve for the broken, lost young man who turned to violence. I grieve for his father, brother, and family who must go on with this tragedy imbedded within them forever.

Today is the end of the Mayan calendar. Perhaps it is the Mayan prediction of the end of an age. Some believe the end of the world. Tuesday is Christmas--the celebration of the birth of Christ--God in human flesh. He, who came to do for us what we could not do ourselves--love God with all our hearts and minds, and love others as ourselves. Perhaps our world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast; God's mercy must deliver us from the conqueror's crushing grasp. This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound, 'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around. My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn. (Canticle of the Turning)

God, our hearts are broken. We recognize that, there, but by your grace, we go. Help us to comfort one another. Surround the families of those who suffer with comfort and love. Fill us with your love, your compassion, your creative wisdom. Help us to be a part of the change so that our world turns to you. So be it. Amen.

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From My Heart to Yours
Rayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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