I hesitate to write this blog as it is deeply personal. Personal story can be, and is often, poorly stated and easily misunderstood. I will try to be simple and clear in my attempt to express myself today. I am truly saddened today, once again, by the tragic loss of human life, this time in Las Vegas. One of my favorite books is titled, “The Way of the Wolf; The Gospel in New Images,” by Martin Bell. In this book there is a story titled, “What the wind said to Thajir.” The story of Thajir has three points to be made, and they are; “At the center of all things, life belongs to life,” and, “I am everyone who has ever been and every one who ever will be,” and finally, “Whatever hurts elephants, hurts me.” The story of little Thajir, a young child of India and the wind, is for me, a deeply meaningful Gospel image, today more than ever.
On our small college campus the flags are flying at half-mast. Across this great nation of ours the flag of our nation, and states, and others, are flying at half-staff. We are a people in mourning. Prayers are being said in churches, synagogues, mosques, and homes, and businesses, and chapels, and many hearts. For a few moments most of us are one people, undivided, aghast at what has happened, saddened by other’s loss, and stunned by the sheer horror of this senseless atrocity.
All across social media and the traditional news there are stories associated with the Las Vegas tragedy, of heroism and unconditional sacrifice. Stories of men and women, some strangers, looking out for one another, and helping each other to survive the awful event. To my knowledge I do not know any of the men and women who lost their lives yesterday, or, the ones who were injured or traumatized in this story. Yet, my sadness today runs deep and it is because similar to the words of Thajir’s story, what hurts others hurts me. We are all children of the Creator, we all share this one planet, and while we are 50 states and multiple territories, we are one nation of people. Yes, we come from different places, have varying backgrounds and beliefs, look different, speak differently; I get it. It is our differences that can make us great. Don’t we all want to create and provide a wonderful future for our children and their children?
My religious affiliation is Christian. Regardless of the actions of some who claim the same faith, Christianity is a faith based on God’s love, and His commandment to us to love one another, including the stranger and the outcast. Loving others as ourselves is not always easy, but, isn’t it worth the try? I am, like so many others praying for the people of Las Vegas, the families of those who lost loved ones, and those who survived the terrible event. Better than that, I am praying that the Lord will teach me how to love my neighbors and my family in news ways that will allow me to be an example of God’s love for all. I cannot change the world, or even my state, or town, or family. I do have the power, with God’s help, to be a better person. 1st. Corinthians 13 comes to mind; you hear it at Christian weddings all the time. “Faith, Hope and Love these three, but, the greatest of these is love.” Peace be with us all.