Some things make me emotional. What I generically call home-sickness is one of them. This happens every time I leave family behind and lasts for about three days. It happens when I'm tired. Sometimes it's less predictable: a random thought about a dead loved one or even a pet; a flash realization of the beauty and helplessness of children.
Today I have been emotional. The news is a constant and recurring distraction. I have read enough about the shootings in the south and in the mid-west, and about the shootings in Texas to make me want to withdraw. I am finding that tears come easily today. It doesn't help that the atmospheres on Facebook and reddit are full of both pleas for peace and polarizing rhetoric. I would love to tell everyone to just be quiet. Nothing fuels a fight like exposure and ranting. Nothing is less conducive to healing.
My distant family history has a deep root of racism that I consciously reject all the time. While I disagree with the violence mongers with whom I have contact, I understand their culture and sympathize with the limited perspective that allows a stronger than warranted opinion about these things. At the same time I internalize the sadness that goes with other people's grief. I find myself looking for good reasons for people to have suffered as they did. Of course, that's a futile search, because each situation was random in its own way and resulted in deaths unrelated to anything the people were actually doing - no immediate guilt, no immediate cause.
I know my impulse to withdraw is a pipe dream. The violence of human beings is one of the most deeply rooted, historical manifestations of depravity. It goes back to two brothers and a jealous fit over theology. There is no real escape. I even wrestle with myself over these dilemmas. If the fight isn't social, it's internal. Obviously to withdraw is impractical and irresponsible. The level I think about this would probably astound some people. Today I took a break from the distraction of the news to be distracted by travel packages to Antarctica. Might as well just admit the unlikeliness of the impulse.
But if I have anything to contribute to the discussion it is this. I will not respond to the rants of others, not even to encourage sanity. Such a response is pointless and ineffective. I will not indulge in judgement either on movements or professions. I will speak only of the pain in my own heart, and not attempt to interpret the pain of others. I will not contribute to the fray by stating an opinion about what somebody else did right or wrong.
I will only grieve. Many times again Cain has struck, and many times again Abel has fallen. Many times again, Cain has attempted to justify himself, and many times again he has failed miserably.
Pastor, Norma Mennonite Church.