The Bible says that our days are numbered. In the past few weeks, enormous numbers of people have died. Some from floods, some from tornadoes, some from earthquakes, some from war. The numbers are too large to even comprehend realistically. Without seeing the devastation firsthand we can't wrap our minds around the terrible chaos and confusion.
It's easy to go about our business every day as though we aren't affected by the losses, but somewhere, deep down inside we are. There is a compassionate heart in most of us. And that compassion leads us to grieve when terrible disasters happen. For the last few weeks, I've been feeling blue and I just couldn't figure out why. I'm no more tired than usual. The sun shines most days. I'm taking my vitamin D. So why has it been so hard to get back to my old light-hearted self?
I think it's because on some deep cellular level I grieve. On some level the loss of so many souls has initiated the grieving process. There are recognizable steps in the grieving process and I seem to be working my way through the process.
To some it will no doubt seem unreasonable to grieve for people I don't know. But I know that without compassion, we are no better than a box of rocks. Even animals know how to grieve. In this twenty-first century mourning is no longer fashionable. This weekend, a day of national mourning, a Memorial Day...will be spent in traveling, picnicking, shopping... but not in mourning or remembrance.
Perhaps--perhaps we should take a little while this Memorial Day to contemplate our losses.
No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.~~John Donne