I cannot understand. I don’t want to understnd. That is the sort of think sympathetic people say when someone has slipped up – oh, I understand. No, I do not understand. There is no understanding hate.
I sat in church on Sunday and listened to the prayers for the people senselessly killed, for their loved ones, for their community, for their country. I looked around: Heads bowed, people reverent, and I counted. 1, 2, 3, 34, 35, 42, 43… 49. I was sitting in the back of the church and 49 was everyone in the front half of the church. everyone in the congregation, all the choir, the clergy. All of them? They were praying. praying.
I couldn’t understand.
Then I thought of who they are. My neighbours, my friends, my former student, my son – my son was singing in the choir. I couldn’t understand.
I can’t understand.
I walked this morning back to the church, and inside, up by the alter, in the wall is a memorial to a child. It is unmarked and centuries old, but I couldn’t stop looking at it and thinking of the unbelievable hole that loss makes.
And I thought of my own children.
I cannot imagine.
Fear, sadness, desolation must not win. Flowers and candles, symbols, yes, but more than that – teaching love and living tolerance, protecting one another; these are things we need. Talk about why hate is wrong. Talk about how to show kindness. Help one another notice the good in each other and to cultivate this. Do something good. The world needs more random acts of kindness, and more than random – we need always acts of kindness.
As a featured image I chose the image I took when walking to the sea this morning of two old friends on the bench. I aspire to this.