It's especially distressing when tragedy strikes at holiday times -- times when people expect to be joyous and to celebrate the blessings of life. But whenever tragedy strikes we must attend to it and so we end the year 2012 in shock and disbelief with the deaths of so many in Connecticut. It is a clear call to action as well as horror, and it is one we must not ignore. At the same time, while we are working for whatever measures seem most reasonable as ways to prevent future tragedies, we should continue to recognize what is good in our lives. Even if we vote in stricter gun controls, post armed guards in every school, and revise our system of treating mental illness, we don't eliminate senseless violence from our world. We must do something, but it should not be limited to only punitive and restrictive measures. We must also continue to find ways to fill our world with joy, hope, and love.
As I was reading the accounts of what other clergy did to commemorate the lives of those who died in New Town on December 12, I came across a description of the thoughts of an Episcopal clergywoman. Her advice inspired my heart to maintain hope and joy, even in this beleaguered world. She had several stipulations for a good response to the New Town tragedy [and the accumulated tragedies that have preceded it], but the best one -- in my mind -- is that we should "love wastefully!"
For me, the implication is that we have an unlimited supply of love to give; therefore, we should not hoard it or even use it sparingly. I think if everyone loved to the fullest extent they could the world would be a much nicer and gentler place -- we would, if not eliminate, at least greatly reduce the violence we currently see every day! So this is my wish for you all in 2013: love wastefully! Pour it out on everyone you meet. Do random acts of kindness. Pay it forward! And my hunch is you will more than be repaid for your efforts.