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May 25, 2022

Processing Tragedy

Over the past week, we’ve seen three tragic shootings: a grocery store in Buffalo NY, a Taiwanese church in California, and now an elementary school in Texas. These stories and photos are scrolling on our screens and feeds with an odd and daunting familiarity.

What is there to say?

I want to write something like “our hearts go out to…” but it feels empty. The truth is I can’t begin to imagine the pain these families are feeling. As an onlooker, I feel a mix of sadness, anger, and (I hate to admit this), helplessness. I want these killings to stop. I’ve wanted them to stop since I was in high school when they began to feel commonplace to me. But here we are, once again mourning the loss of children, teachers, parishioners, and family members.

There are no easy answers here, but numbing or burying this news in endless streams of work and media has historically been a recipe for apathy and loneliness in every level of society.

Our Attempt
So, here are a few things the team and I are trying to practice as we seek to process these events with soft hearts, saddened spirits, and an eye towards making things better.

Personally:

We’re taking time to learn about the events and process our own emotions. Listening, writing, and/or talking with close friends. We know expressing grief helps us stay in touch with ourselves, creates openness and, eventually, ushers in healing.

With Loved Ones:

We know that simple presence with loved ones is important in the face of difficult global events. We’re planning to spend time with our families, and invite discussion. Even if our answers are “I don’t know,” that’s ok. Presence and time are often more important than answers or advice.

With teams:

First, a simple note recognizing that parts of the country and world are experiencing incredible grief, fear, uncertainty. We want to remind our team that they have space to discuss these events as a community. We’ll also be pausing before team meetings to check in with one another. Your words don’t need to be profound. Start with your own experience, “Lately, I’ve been feeling_____. How about you?”

We Know…

This won’t be the last time events like these occur. And we know the conversations around them are rife with anger, sadness, and political polarization. All of that can push us to hole ourselves away, or to continue to listen and explore where we can make things better. We’ll do our best to choose the latter, and we hope you do too.

What other action can you take?

If you believe gun laws need to change, spend time at https://www.everytown.org. Also, this list of resources is worth a visit.

If you want to support families affected by these events, here are three campaigns:

And if you’re doing anything that’s been helpful in your life, community, or team, please share. We’re interested in both care and change, with you.

___________

Photo credit: Mark Rothko | No. 14, 1960, 1960

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