Monday, April 16, 2007

noticeably absent

god has been noticeably absent these days. this world is perhaps too much; the pain and suffering of the everyday, the depression and addiction, the poverty and homelessness. this great big gift we've been given and then squandered. our pain perhaps the most toxic emission of all.

god has been noticeably absent these days, and we've all grown immune to the suffering, Iraq, Rwanda, Nairobi, Cambodia. In more places than we can count children live in suffering and die every day, we turn our heads, it is too much.

and then the unexpected, the things that happen on our way to class, leaving our dorm rooms, as we carry our books. we send our precious cargo into the world, this great big world of ours and we hold our breath and hope at best they will exceed our hopes and dreams and at worst will find this world a bit easier than we have found it ourselves. anything less than that is incomprehensible.

god has been noticeably absent these days. perhaps those of you that are strong in your beliefs, your faith, can take these moments and make sense of them, allow them to fall into some sort of context that is relegated to this world alone. i used to walk along you but i've lost my way, and the losing has made the distance wider. i don't know how to reconcile these tragedies and still raise a hopeful child. but yet i hope.

Virginia.

To the young, creative, and brilliant minds who were extinguished today for reasons yet unknown; my heart sits here next to me and we grieve together, tears sliding down my face. My child asks me why i am crying, and i do not have the words. There are no words for this.

Virginia.

37 comments:

slouching mom said...

Bad, bad times.

I don't know what to say.

Sometimes there are no words.

Blog Antagonist said...

That's how I feel too. When stuff like this happens I wonder how all those people who pray to him every day can still believe.

My heart goes out to all the families. This is a terrible, terrible tragedy. No place is safe anymore.

Marymurtz said...

We sat at the table tonight and talked about it in code, our four year old across from us, oblivious. My husband emailed our congressional representative, and railed about gun laws. He was moody and distracted and neither of us wanted to let our daughter out of our sight, even for a minute.

The world feels infected and diseased. I don't know which way is up any more.

Mad Hatter said...

I hugged my child. She resisted not yet understandning that sometimes mothers need hugs too.

flutter said...

No more heartbroken, than this day. When learning interrupted by violence. No more incredulous than watching potential, intelligence and future, snuffed out by mania.
How does the world recover?

Laurie said...

I've been a wreck all day watching the news unfold. There are no words of comfort, no bright side, no silver lining to this event. My heart bleeds.

NotSoSage said...

i know.

KC said...

Guns. The thought of a gun sends shivers through me. It seems ridiculous that people can own one. Why do we feel the need to own one?

I once was talking to a patient who told me he commuted nearly 2 hours to work everyday to avoid living in MD. Why? Because he didn't agree with the politics (the whole pesky thing about guns) and chose to live in Virginia instead. He wanted the right to carry a weapon. He absolutely terrified me.

I don't blame God for this. I blame people for letting this happen to our humanity. And guns.

Thailand Gal said...

I don't think God has gone anywhere. If you view God as being transcendence (which I do), it becomes more a matter of our not listening. Transcendence takes hard work. It takes risk. It takes commitment. It takes putting the self aside.

Most people just don't want to bother.

Sorry to seem negative about it. I wish I had some cheery answer.

There isn't one.


~Chani

Julie Pippert said...

It is a tragedy beyond words.

I will say...God gave man freedom of will. This was not God's will; it was man's will. God was not absent. I am sure God was more present than ever. But he will not remove freedom of will. I am sure God was more anguished by heart than any of us, and that's both saying a lot, and very, very cold comfort. If it helps to blame God, that's okay. He can take it. Just remember he is always open.

Right now, the only thing is grief.

I say let it wash over us so we feel it and know it, and are changed by it.

jen said...

oh KC. i don't blame god. i just don't understand what kind of world we continue to live in, how it can feel so godless when it doesn't have to.

i'd leave to, if i were god. but that's a whole other post.

crazymumma said...

I know Jen.

The lost potential and sputtering delayed politicians.

Those poor poor families. I think of them tonight.

Lillithmother said...

Jen, I don't know about the tragedy you're speaking about...and I won't google it either, because I'd rather not know. It's not that I'm a self-centred woman without a heart...in fact it's the opposite, my heart can't hold that much anymore. I'm not as immune to someone else's suffering as I used to be when I was a kid, because my world is now bigger then Barbie's camper and my boyfriend's embrace.

I don't loose my faith in mankind because I don't erode all the goodness I've taken years to accumulate/witness against the badness. This is just how I just to live my life, I'm not saying others should do it...it's how I've found the strength to keep positive when it seems that global shit has hit the global fan.

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it, always. Mahatma Gandhi" Oh Jen...I really believe this...I just do...

And where is God? He's shut himself in the bathroom so that no one can hear His painful sobs...

Lil

Momish said...

It is sad and painful. When these things happen, I am too often quick to slip into an existential mope and shuck God to the winds.

But, there is one thing I will never forget and I just keep coming back to it again and again each time something like this happens. I am reminded of the Native American way of thinking where the blame is and always remains with the tribe.

If one person goes astray, if one person does wrong, if one person hurts another, the tribe is to blame. Somewhere along the way, everyone around let that person slip through the cracks and lose their way. A strong tribe has no weak members.

I blame society. I blame myself. I blame God too, but only as another member of the tribe. He/she doesn't get off scott free, but I am willing to share the blame.

Thanks for the beautiful tribute and making me feel this tragedy a bit more, as I should have all along.

Deezee said...

beautiful, heartbreaking words that capture the pain of the day. I can't stop listening to the Virginia story as if a piece of understanding might sneak through. but of course, there is no understanding.

absent, indeed...

Hel said...

My sister. I'm holding you close to my heart and saying:
"You are prove to me that god still exists"

Other than that I am speechless.

kiki said...

I waited until A went to bed last night to watch the full story on the news and tears poured down my face as I watched. I wonder how I'll possibly want to send my girl to college someday when schools have become a place of terror and I couldn't help quiver in fear a bit when I think about my girl going to a synagogue for her morning enrichment program. What's the next target?
The unfathomable part of the whole story in VA is that the school KNEW there was a gunman and chose to hold classes. They knew. Where were the loud speakered announcements? Why did campus police think they could control the situation? Emailing students who may or may not go online before class and letting them walk into a trap, when they thought they were going to learn.
I feel so sick and scared and sad. And our president offered condolensces yet reminded that it's our American right to bear arms. I wonder if he'd feel the same way if one of his own was gunned down yesterday, I really wonder.

mamatulip said...

I feel the same way. Shellshocked.

Beck said...

It's hard, isn't it, this heartsore shock?
I don't think the promise of faith was ever that we would live in a good, safe world, just that we would never have to go through this bad, dangerous world utterly alone.

Oh, The Joys said...

"And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever man and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

--Elie Wiesel, from his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1986

Hearts are heavy today.

Karen Forest said...

I have to say that although I had never heard about the Native American's view on "the tribe", as I was reading the post by momish, I was sitting there shaking my head yes.....

It is absolutely all of our faults. Blame can be spread equally across the board.

Maybe it is the part that we play in today's society that makes the hurt feel compounded and inescapable? We carry it with us, because we are part of it.

May peace be with everyone.

Penny. said...

God is present, omni so, infact.

But, He is noticably absent from so many people's lives, so many tortured hearts, so many organizations, groups and so many thinking, performing, feeling, decision making, caring brains.

I could go on. It's not God. It's people.

Don't lose faith or hope, Jen. That will only proliferate the hate and fear that causes such events, in the first place.

Redneck Mommy said...

My heart hurts today for those who suffered and who will continue to suffer because of the madness in Virginia yesterday.

But I can't believe God was absent. Even when my own son died a year ago.

Because then I would have no hope.

So sad.

radical mama (venessa) said...

Thank you.

Gwen said...

first of all, let me say, that this is a beautiful post.

I loved what Momish had to say about the Native American concept of tribe failure. Very thought provoking.

I can't speak to the god issue.

I will say this: what saddens me most or angers me, or both, is that tragedies like this are happening every day in other countries. Every frickin' day, someone walks into a crowded market in Iraq and blows himself and x number of innocents up. Every day, some poor kid getting water in Darfur is snatched by the Janjaweed. Every day, at least one child in Thailand is sold into sex slavery. But what gets the world press? WHAT? This. And it's horrible and awful and mind-boggling, it is. I'm not trying to minimize that or deny it. It's just that there's so much horror and pain and suffering--and there always has been. Man's inhumanity to man is not new or novel or even worse. Maybe we have more powerful weapons, but the impetus has come from the same dark place for centuries. So, what to do, what to do? Teach your children well? Be the change you want to see in the world? It's a big rock and Sisyphus is tired of pushing it .....

kim said...

Wait for the hope, it will come.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I cry for those families today. And probably tomorrow and the next day, too.

Senseless.

QT said...

I like this post jen, and I like that is speaks not just to this tragedy but to tragedies throughout the world.

I, too, will not seek out news of this incident after today.

Bon said...

"how to recognize these tragedies and still raise a hopeful child." for me, that's the big question...you hit the nail on the head.

because, saddest of all, i find myself less and less shocked each time i hear horror on the news. and i think becoming jaded and weary and frozen is a problem in terms of staying hopeful. your post helped me feel all of that a little more...so i thank you.

and i continue to hope...for less tragedy, for less commonplace bad news.

Kyla said...

God jen...that was beautifully painful.

I believe. And Julie said it well.

KC said...

I know what you mean, jen.

I still can't get off this gun issue. This doesn't happen in other countries. There's a reason for that.

Psychiatric instability doesn't have to end in massacre.

It didn't have to be this way.

Aliki2006 said...

Your post really speaks to me, particularly since my students just finished reading Wiesenthal's The Sunflower. In the book, he talks about the notion of "God being on leave" during the Holocaust. Your post reminded me of the painful discussion in his book.

Izzy said...

Honestly, I look at the world and I wonder if there even IS a god.

I can't imagine my children growing up in a world so rife with suffering.

I feel so helpless...

carrie said...

But hope is not absent.

It's everywhere.

Carrie

urban-urchin said...

I have to second everything Julie Pippert has said- we have free will and he won't take that away from us.

Man did this to man. And I am heartbroken that we have the capicity to carry out such unspeakable acts toward our brothers.

I also have to second what KC has said. Why here SO OFTEN and not in other countries?

The Expatriate Chef said...

So well put. Thank you.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Crying along with you and the world.