The value of life is crystallized in its brevity.
I was thinking about that this morning, reading about the forever-altered city of Newtown, Connecticut as they face the one year anniversary of their Literal Hell. The people there want no memorial. They want no more upheaval. Hell is exhausting because there is just no rest, and Newtown needs some rest. When one can’t even answer the question, “Nice to meet you, where are you from?” without eliciting tears, there can be no escape from pain. Newtown just wants peace. From the linked NY Times article:
“If we build it, they will come,” said E. Patricia Llodra, Newtown’s first selectman. “So we have to not build it.”
How strange that such raging black violence brings about such a focused effort for gentle white peace. We value that which is torn from us, those deep soul-feeding things we think we can never get back once they’ve been destroyed.
No one shakes hands in Newtown now. Genuine and tender hugs have replaced firm handshakes for women and men alike. The sentence, “She’s a mom” is translated there to mean, “She lost her child.” The martyred teachers are called simply The Guardians. Green, the school’s color, the color of life, is everywhere. So is the very conscious decision to choose love.
Life may be brief, but love, though it evolves and changes and moves and grows in so many different ways, is eternal.
Tomorrow, a great man will be laid to rest. He, too, in the midst of unspeakable struggle and pain, chose love, and peace. How do we best honor these precious lives? By letting them rest, both in peace and in love. By extending grace to our friends, and more importantly, our enemies, by loving one another deeply, and, with music: