Massacre of the Innocents

Sunday Words on Hope, Guns, Annabelle and Hands

I could not find appropriate words for yesterday’s Words For the Weekend post. But while words failed me, some of you have shared poignant thoughts that I would like to share.

Please enjoy the following selections: a poem on hope submitted by kind reader Elle, a few quotes on hope, links and further reading on the delicate subjects of guns and issues facing The United States in the aftermath of tragedy, and a couple of songs that have been echoing in my mind this weekend.

If you have any quotes, poems or songs of hope or encouragement, please feel free to share in the comments; I will include them in next weekend’s Words post.

I wish you all a week of peace and healing.

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HOPE (shared by reader Elle, written by Elle’s beautiful poet friend)

“Please help me to remember when my heart is dark with sorrow
that even this most pressing grief will ease on some tomorrow,
For so the cycle always goes, if I could just remember;
but I forget that spring exists when I am in December.

As part of life is pain, so surely part is also pleasure,
won’t happiness that follows tears seem all the more a treasure?
So mourning, help me please believe that there will yet be laughter,
for after all, the darkest night has sunrise follow after.

I know I look too closely at the trouble life is giving;
Yet take for granted many things that make my life worth living.
As if the fact that bad exists, means goodness cannot find me;
Yet good things happen every day, won’t someone please remind me?

It matters less what happens than it matters how one views it,
but life looks dark and cold to one whose grieving heart imbues it.
And it is winter in my life; but please don’t let grief blind me
to the good things and to hope of spring once sorrow lies behind me.”

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In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus

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Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness. ~ Pearl S. Buck, The Child Who Never Grew

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Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise. ~ Martha Beck

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We stumble on… bring a little noise into the silence, find in others the ongoing of ourselves.  It is almost enough… The world spins.  We stumble on.  It is enough. ~ Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

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In his blog “Better Living Through Beowolf: How great literature can change your life”, Dr. Robin Bates quotes Matthew 2:18 on The Massacre of the Innocents and then shares from Melville’s Moby Dick:

“But by her still halting course and winding, woeful way, you plainly saw that this ship that so wept with spray, still remained without comfort. She was Rachel, weeping for her children, because they were not.” 

Bates goes on to write:

To this oceanic sadness I add my anger at anyone who, because of political expedience, avarice or other base motives, refuses to seriously grapple with America’s gun problem, especially the easy access to automatic weapons.

I’ve read many outstanding posts about the need to address our nation’s current gun laws. I do not know the solution, but I, as I’m sure the following bloggers, would agree that something is broken:

Gus at Out Where the Buses Don’t Run shares in “When Is The Time To Have That Discussion on Gun Control?“:

Now is not the time for hysteria and finger-pointing. There are 20 dead children to be buried, 20 pairs of parents whose grief cannot possibly be measured. Not to mention the grief and confusion the father of the shooter and the husband of the shooter’s mother must be feeling right now. Now is not the time for empty rhetoric and false promises. But the time will come, and it’s incumbent upon all of us, parents and spouses, voters and elected officials, lobbyists and concerned citizens, to have a measured, intelligent, and MATURE conversation about what gun control means, without compromise, without the taint of lobbying and money.

Susan at Recovering Life shares in “A country gone awry:

Gun control would help, wider availability of treatment for mental health problems would help. But the increasing massacres of innocents are only one of so many indicators of things gone awry–homicide rates, suicide rates, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, poverty, school drop-outs, homelessness, joblessness, depression, anxiety, PTSD, child abuse, and on and on–that I wake up in the night afraid.  Something is rotten at the core.

Caitlin Kelly, author of Blown Away: American Women and Guns, at Broadside Blog shares in “Why the next shooting massacre is (sadly) inevitable“:

– It has been said that 25 percent of Americans will suffer from mental illness during their lifetime. On any given day, then, there is a percentage of the population for whom ready access to a weapon and ammunition is deeply unwise. Co-relate this statistic with the number of Americans whose home contains a gun.

– Forty-seven percent of Americans own a gun. This is the highest rate of gun ownership since 1993. (source: Gallup poll.) There is no way to know when or how these two factors intersect.

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As always, when I can’t seem to find words for my feelings and emotions, I turn to music and song. The first speaks to a parent’s loss and being left to wonder “why?” The second speaks to the buoyancy of the human spirit. Yes, we are heart-broken, but we cannot stay idle with despair–we must carry on, we must.

“Annabelle” by Gillian Welch (video)

I had a daughter called her Annabelle
She’s the apple of my eye
Tried to give her something like I never had
Didn’t want to ever hear her cry

We cannot have all things to please us
No matter how we try
‘Til we’ve all gone to Jesus
We can only wonder why

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“Hands” by Jewel (video)

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all OK
And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they’re not yours, they are my own
But they’re not yours, they are my own
And we are never broken

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