Embracing Grace: Reflections on the News of the Day

My alarm went off this morning at 6 AM.  In and effort to make it more difficult to stay in bed too long after six, I have moved the clock radio across the room.  I stumbled over, killed the alarm, and switched on NPR.  And stumbled back to bed.  So much for the plan.

And that was how the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death reached me.  Lying in bed, barely awake.

And I felt sadness.
Another sad chapter has begun in a very sad book.  This chapter is different from the one where he was alive, but it’s not necessarily any better.  It’s not happier.  This is most certainly not the happy ending to an otherwise sad story.

What is this new chapter about?  Well, it starts with people are throwing parties about more death.  About people believing that violence has the power to solve a problem.  When has that ever worked?  It simply moves the problem somewhere else, most notably into our hearts, where it festers as a false notion of self-righteousness and power and where we call it “justice.”

If you listen to the news reports, you might think that everyone in this country is blood thirsty, bent on revenge, and simplistic in their view of justice.  Even President Obama disappointed me with his comments, and I usually consider him a voice of reason.  Despite deciding last week that I was going to take a hiatus from Facebook  (I simply felt it was distracting and not really adding anything to my life in a meaningful way), this morning I turned to my Facebook news feed, hoping others there might feel as I did.

My friends came through.

First, from Dan in Alaska:  “How many lives lost? How many people still dying? I’m not cheering.”

His wife, Adrian “wonders if the death of one man, any man, would be enough to end a war and/or warrant celebration. I find myself holding my breath instead.”

My wise friend Kendall in Montana  “is a little disturbed by the glee being expressed at bin Laden’s death. Something terrible has happened to us as a people when we are overjoyed at the death of another human being, no matter how horrible a person he may have been.”

Admittedly, there were a few who hold up this event as a reason to be “proud to be American.”  Me?  I feel it is a reason to be somber about being a human being.

I am not suggesting that we should have excused Bin Laden for his continued and relentless attack on other human beings.  I am not suggesting he was not a reasonable “target” for military action.

My husband Scott put it very well one time.  He said that he feels that we only resort to violence because we are not wise enough to figure out another solution.  There are other solutions, if only we could be full of enough grace and peace and humility to find them.

I choose not to react to the death of another human being with flag waving, with celebrating, with an upswell of pride.  Instead, I offer a humble moment of silence.  A plea for mercy for the limitations of we humans who can’t seem to get it right.

Let the next chapter begin.  God help us.

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5 responses to “Embracing Grace: Reflections on the News of the Day

  1. I don’t know how you got so perceptive and so articulate!! I’ve kept this feeling all day – “this isn’t right.” Disturbing to hear reports of applauding and dancing, and to read some of the posts I saw on FB. You said it so well – it should go further than this blog. Maybe a letter to the editor, with names of your friends left out. Or a letter to political leaders.
    Proud of your statement! Love, Mom

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  2. I left a comment once, but apparently it didn’t get posted properly.
    Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking and feeling all day, but never could get sentences and paragraphs out of it. Yours is so perceptive and articulate. I was depressed by many FB postings – this evening there have been some that weren’t just Rah-Rah!

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  3. Hi Jill,

    I’ve been grappling with the same feelings. I don’t know what a better solution would be — clearly something had to be done — but the level of rejoicing over a killing has been causing a sinking feeling in my stomach.

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    • Hi Jenny, I’m glad to see I am not alone in these feelings. I can understand relief, and I can understand why this seemed the best of a lot of difficult choices. What easy choice could there be in this matter? Since Monday I have heard many people express discomfort with the rejoicing, and I perhaps more people feel like you or I than was initially evident. The media were all in a frenzy which made matters worse. Hopefully now we can start to work through the aftermath and see what comes next. Take care!

      Like

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