Faith is a curious thing. Most of us have it – either in a religion, a God, a universe, a concept, a person, or all of above. Faith waxes and wanes. It can overtake us like a down pour on a hot summer day. Parents who hold their newborn child for the first time, or a person seeing another in the midst of a good deed, understand how quickly faith comes and the overwhelming feeling of it. Sometimes it deserts us when someone close to us dies or a want is never met. Then there are those times when a loss of faith rips everything out of you, leaving you feel empty, alone, betrayed and wondering why you had faith in anything in the first place….times like this past Friday…in Newton, CN.
I don’t really want to write a blog about Newton. There are so many great, well-written blogs out there about the tragedy, and I’m not sure if mine could do it the justice it deserves. I will write that I don’t know anyone who is not saddened to their core for those lives lost. And the pain and the anguish their families must feel, are tearing us all apart. I know this because I heard it in the sobs of those at church yesterday. I saw it in the words of Facebook posts since Friday. I felt in the desperate, confused words of “What did we do?” from my daughter, reflecting what we all feel. And the entire nation had to be touched to their core as our leader, President Obama, spoke on behalf our nation at the memorial for the victims…probably one of the most difficult speeches he ever had to give.
And I know, most of us agree that the killing of those innocents is a wake-up call for all of us in the United States. We need to get out of our violent-induced coma and address gun control and mental illness. Even my hunter friends know now is the time to enforce the strictest gun control laws this nation has ever imposed. And I understand people’s anger and frustration toward the Newton shooter. I truly get that. Unfortunately the fact remains, he was mentally ill. We, as a society, have to realize this and come to terms with the fact we have not placed enough attention on mental illness. We need to seriously look at it as a huge problem in our society because one way or another, it affects all of us, even the lives of innocents.
So how do we get back our faith in times like this? How do we continue to believe God is still with us during all of this? How do we start believing in the beauty of people when we saw the ugliest of warts? How do we trust the Universe still holds answers, if only a few? How are we to feel in the spirit of goodness again…especially in this season of believing and faith?
I know scholars and religious heads have some answers, some surely rehearsed or said without feeling or honest belief…perhaps patronizing. I am sure there are leaders who are faking their way through speeches because we look to them for answers and the pressure has to be daunting. And I am certain there are so many who have unshakeable faith, unwavering confidence in their responses to these questions. I think though, the most honest answer anyone can give is “I don’t know”. I suppose the best we can all do is hold onto our questions with the hope, the faith, that the answers may not be what propel us forward; rather, it will be the questions. Perhaps it’s through the questions, changes can be made and maybe, those changes will restore our faith again.
Peace, support and thoughts go out to Newton….to all of us…during this difficult time. May our questions turn into action and may our faith be restored.