Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding Hatred in the Snow

Sometimes events and circumstances paralyze us. Two events in the past week did so. The Snow of 2011 has shut down the Atlanta area for almost a week now. Just today, people began to move about more normally. If you went to the store before today, you likely encountered empty shelves or perhaps even locked doors. We don't do well when our routine is messed up. Kids want to go back to school. Parents want them to - some even saying so in writing on the social media. It is ironic that we had time at home with our families when we were simultaneously reflecting on the horrible massacre in Tuscon last Satruday. The last time we had a "normal" day, the full impact of Tuscon had not settled in. Now it has.

Just as the snow changed everything in Atlanta for a week, the shooting in Tuscon has launched a nationwide self-examination that likely will have impact for weeks and maybe years to come. The President's 'come, let us reason together' speech, in a very unusual setting for a memorial, gave us pause. Did he mean it? I think he did. Will it make any difference? We shall see. In the wake of Tuscon, many blamed politics for igniting the shooting. Does anyone know the 22 year old gunman's political affiliation? I haven't heard. I'm sure it did not matter.

The disappointing thing is that honest political differences taken too far become visious and hateful comments that devolve into deep-seated hostility. That's what we saw this week. A friend of mine in conversation this week called for prayer for the victims and their families. The response from a lady in the conversation was an exclamation of hatred for a prominent national political figure, to which my friend agreed. What? You pray for those who are hurt and agree with a death wish for a public servant in the same minute?! In that context, what is the difference between the gunman's act on Saturday and ours? We didn't shoot anyone? That's it? We have the same hate. We just don't use a gun. We are hating each other to death! Can't we see that? I think the President does. I think many more see it today than had a clue last week. What about you? Do you see more clearly today?

The snow covered 49 of the 50 states this week, altering our routine just enough to stop and listen. We didn't like what we heard. We don't like who we have become. We can do better. We must. As the snow melts, may our hearts be warmed as well. Please God, give us the love and resolve to make a different tomorrow.

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