It's Christmas time! A time of shopping, parties, family, cards, letters, and presents. And yet, I start each day with a drive that takes me past flags flying at half mast and news that shows me images of funerals. Reality! It doesn't feel like Christmas at all.
This year has been one of some hard lessons. You see Doug and I were banned for life from one yacht club and Doug was banned from the Laser fleet from another yacht club. Now the infractions that caused these bannings were things like, well, Doug has a blog and often takes pictures and video while sailing and that's not ok. You know, not really justifiable reasons but rather excuses to justify what appears to be fear, hatred, jealousy or some other negative emotion. Check you own emotional reaction to this paragraph and keep reading.
When we see hurtful behavior and violence in the world, it isn't anything new. Just varying degrees. And for some odd reason the heat has really been turned up in the US and it has most definitely tapped us on the shoulder all year long and Doug and I have struggled for understanding. We came to learn that hurt people, hurt people. What starts out as feeling like a justifiable reason (reaction), soon becomes just another act of hurting people.
The latest violence against school children is perplexing because there is no obvious explainable or justifiable reason for the violence. But that’s the point, there really never is a justifiable reason to hurt others to any degree. People are quite passionate in their theories in this latest case. Gun control, media coverage, mental illness care, parenting, violent video games. But, as people struggle for understanding and argue their theories, there is more division. Doug and I have learned, that division is where the problems all begin.
The recent deaths of so many innocent children has sparked alot of emotion as to the root cause. For a moment, remove your understanding of spoken language and step back for a higher level perspective and observe the body language, voice inflection, and the raw emotions as you or others voice the strongly felt opinions. It ain't friendly. Doesn't look it or sound it. In fact, it might look and sound a bit like what was quietly being felt inside the individual perpetrating the violence. It isn't loving, tolerant, or forgiving. It divides one individual or group from another and it perpetuates a destructive cycle. Just because you think something is right, doesn’t mean the other person is wrong. The change begins with each of us.
Christmas time is about family, friends, forgiveness and acceptance. Although, it may not feel very much like Christmas this year, we desperately need the Christmas spirit. We need only look to the Amish in the aftermath of their school shooting. A lesson in grace, the spirit of Christmas.