My designated time for writing this morning passed without a single word making it’s way to my computer screen.
For days, I have listened to people talk about the massacre at Newtown and I have been grateful for their eloquence and their grace.
During those same days, I have felt my stomach turn as others have belligerently talked of “rights” that are being challenged or of “rights” that need to be challenged in the political issues that invariably surface in times like these.
Still others have spoken of the deeper societal problems that gave rise to this tragedy and to other violent episodes. Mental health, school security, and family dysfunction are popular and trending topics.
Then there are those who quietly focus on the victims and the potential lost by lives cut short in a horrendous moment.
I watch all of this and I think, “Something should be said.”
But for the last five hours, I couldn’t come up with those words.
On Sunday, in another place, I wrote of an answer that speaks to my spiritual beliefs. And while I put great weight in that answer, I know that many who don’t share my beliefs find no solace there. To those people, something should be said.
To people who have suffered loss of loved ones and setbacks in life, something should be said.
To people who struggle to function because they are paralyzed by fear, something should be said.
Determined to say something, I have only three words . . .
- “I will listen.”
Voices spring up all around us. Each and every individual is struggling to find a voice to express their frustration, their grief, and their indignation. That’s what I’ve been doing this morning.
And all that I can find to say is . . .
- “I will listen.”
Listening involves waiting . . . giving space . . . analyzing content . . . savoring feelings. In a time of woundedness, focused and caring attention is needed. Listening is a balm that can soothe an anxious soul.
As we listen, we will hear angry words. We will hear good ideas. We will hear some of the most outrageous and hateful thoughts imaginable.
Sometimes, we will listen in silence . . . to silence.
“I will listen.”