It’s been a hard few weeks to be human. From Paris, to Beirut, to Colorado Springs, and now San Bernardino, we’ve been forced to stare the darkest side of humanity right in the eye. People react to in different ways. Some react in fear, some in anger, some in hopelessness. And it’s never long before those reactions find their way to Facebook, or the news, or worse, the comments section. Then suddenly we’re met with all sorts of arguments about who has the right solution. And then another dark side of humanity emerges, the side that starts throwing insults and blame in the midst of tragedy.
Now, I believe that Americans have some serious questions to ask ourselves. Questions that go to the very core of who we are as a country. And those questions are important. But before we do any of that, let us grieve.
As a country we have forgotten how to grieve, we’ve forgotten how to be sad. In this age of immediate information it’s so easy to skip sadness. We jump immediately to anger, fear, or hopelessness because we can do something with those, they are active emotions. We can find someone to blame, we can yell on our social media, we can shut everything out. Grief is passive, all you can do is sit and wait. If you’re lucky enough you may find someone who shares your grief. Two people who share grief can be connected so deeply that, for a moment at least, they put aside their differences and just sit.
For those of you who remember the show Lost, there is an episode where Jack talks about handling fear while he’s performing surgery. He gives the fear 5 seconds of control and then puts it aside and does his job. Now, this may just be the ramblings of an idealist who tries to see the best in humanity, but I wonder what would happen if we as a nation learned how to grieve, to sit in our sorrow and let it wash over us, if we stop rushing into anger because sadness is uncomfortable, just for 5 seconds, or 5 hours, or 5 days. Maybe, just maybe, we’d find that we’re standing on common ground.
As a musician, I often find myself drawn to certain songs in times of sorrow. This is one of my favorites, an acoustic version of Bad Religion’s “Sorrow” by Jon Foreman.