Everyone’s life has some shelves in it. You know, special places where you either put things away or keep them handy. Among what we put-away are matters that can disturb or terrify us. Thoughts of losing your job, your pension, your marriage, your children. Best not to dwell on them if you can help it. Fortunately there are always convenient distractions at hand. Another drink, another game, another lover, anything other than taking these fears off the shelf and facing them down.
But then there are those other shelves. That’s where you and I tend to keep things handy. Just in case. Take for instance Christmastime. A handy time to pull down those warm fuzzy thoughts about shepherds, stars in the east, nativity scenes; the whole God thing we and the malls drag out for their one-month place of prominence.
It’s a feel-good thing, know what I mean?
Is that sounds cynical, well yeah! This annual rush to look good and glittery is all too often more out of habit than belief. Just like those other items we pluck from our shelves whenever a horrific tragedy takes place. Count them. For every Newtown, Sandy and 9/11 comes the same predictable galaxy of responses: Passionate editorials, candle-lit vigils, prayer services, grief-counselors, presidential visits, and a media feeding-frenzy in which everyone vows this must never happen again.
Let it be said that each of these responses is totally understandable, defendable, and even sometimes admirable. However, what comes to mind in the wake of yet another national tragedy is yet another compelling reason to keep most of these responses in our everyday hearts rather than simply on our once-in-awhile shelves….
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