Last week we processed the senseless killings in Atlanta. This week we’ve experienced more such tragedy in Boulder. So many theories, inevitable exploitive agendas, inexplicable inconsistencies, such irrational actions, perhaps that last description the most challenging.
One of my readers of last week’s encouragement raised so many thought provoking insights, one to further explore as she put it is, “the elephant in the room”, that is, the failure of our society to properly identify and serve the needs of our mentally ill. In addition to the mass shootings, she ruminated on the heart breaking suicides of young people, the choices sometimes made that set young lives down dark paths in the future. This encouragement will combine my words with those she shared with me, hers in bold, as well as Cantor Phil Bromwell’s inspired thoughts in blue.
When we let ourselves enter the broken world around us, really enter it emotionally, it can be hard to stay encouraged. Where do we begin?
Perhaps we start where we did last week – to raise our young ones, whether we are the parent, relative, or mentor, with all the unconditional love we can possibly muster, able to do so as we are infused with infinite, endless, boundless love by our Creator. Of course this is sometimes a challenging task given the many times we may find our young ones hard to love, yet that is what we have been tasked to do. It is our most important role on this earth, to nurture love by giving love even when doing so is not easy, as we follow the model of our Abba, and clearly the model of sacrificial love showered on us by Yeshua.
In response to these words last week:
Shooters were once innocent children too. What happened? Mistreatment? Failure? Brainwashing? Lack of love growing up? Lack of faith? What a difference if they had thought of Yeshua’s teachings before pulling that trigger. . . ,
Cantor Phil had these poignant observations:
Some vital important points to pull out here for life giving application. We sometimes find ourselves in a quandary in how to process suffering, especially the suffering that was caused very early when we did not have the strength or proper perspective to fully process it. These are memories that can be haunting companions which never find their final resting place in the struggle to grant them healing and peace.
I often think of this when an event of turmoil and tragedy demands our pain filled attention. What was the turning point in the character of a child or young person that brought forth a poisoning that would ultimately be visited tragically upon other innocent lives? Only our Avinu Malkenu truly knows…
A true often urgent call to prayer.
So despite love as what is needed, what about the reality of those who did not receive this, or did, but life changed their emotional or biological wiring and they could no longer feel it, or their brains have issues which make them incapable of loving others? Therein lies an even greater challenge for the rest of us.
Just as loving another, one person at a time, can literally set in motion the ripple effect of bringing love to an ever growing circle, so too, taking action to make a difference can exponentially affect so many beyond our immediate circles. Perhaps as we identify the brokenness within us and work to heal that, we can go further and work to heal the brokenness around us. Looking at the most recent tragedies, the mass shootings, perhaps we are able to mobilize that inner sense of strength from His Love and take action to bring changes to our mental health system’s shortcomings.
Seems overwhelming? Where to start? Maybe the first step is to educate ourselves, go past the headlines and try to make these stories not about “them” but about “us”. Those suffering from mental illness or irrational thinking are not just mass shooters. I imagine each of us can think of those we know, even within our own families, who are suffering from emotional trauma, acting out behavior, reclusiveness, even diagnosed mental illness. We and our loved ones may even have some experience with the enormous lack of services available. Mental illness is so real.
We corporately as a nation will need to account one day for the resources we have, and yes we need more, and didn’t use to reach out to those suffering from this disease. We are in the midst of a national healthcare crisis of mental illness. It is up to us to help still the quiet voices, and the loud thrashing voices, of those who suffer daily with mental illness. We the Body of Yeshua, and those who may not yet know him.
As so powerfully written and performed by Simon and Garfunkel, “Silence like a cancer grows, . . . the sound of silence.” Let us not be part of that silence.
We the Body need to reach beyond its comfortable walls. It is not pretty outside of our walls, but the lost, and even those within the walls, are deeply hurting. We all need to be change makers. Most of us adults have not been exposed to curriculum which trains us in the how to. But those of us who own a bible, or can access it on the internet, have a great guidebook in Yeshua’s words.
Whatever the “reason”for the ill mental health issues, how can we be the Comforter, we who have been ultimately comforted by the balm of Gilead?
The challenge is to step outside of our many routines and as those blessed to know Yeshua, to take even the smallest steps to heal, through the strength we have in Him, those in such great need within and outside of our community. Whether this is possible through roles and relationships we currently have, or through organizations we choose to support, we are a strong body in Him. What a force for change we could be to motivate others for change in an area that so deeply affects every one of us.
Thank you to my inspiring readers. May these words do just that, inspire many to action, and deepen our prayers.