Stuck at the crucifixion

It’s hard to write anything lately.   What happened Friday in Connecticut is beyond devastating.  It has been there in my mind ever since it happened and the grief and loss are too much to comprehend.  Some tragedies are literally primal — they shake you at your very core.   This is one of them.

I don’t get political on this blog as a general rule (there’s enough of that out there on other blogs).  But I will say that there is something deeply wrong with this society when guns do this kind of damage, over and over, news cycle after news cycle, and no policy ever changes.   Doing nothing is not an option.  Not this time. ( I’ll refer you to Father James Martin’s excellent article on how gun control is a pro-life issue.)

At Mass Sunday, in the Communion line, I looked up at Christ on the cross and thought, not for the first time, that I am glad I have a faith that acknowledges excruciating pain.  The grief that those parents and families are going through must feel like crucifixion.  There is probably no other way to describe it.  I feel marginally less helpless and lost, in some small way, in knowing that my faith offers a language for that kind of pain.

I am praying for comfort for the victims’ families, and it feels so off-key and futile; how can there be any comfort for them, especially right now?  I guess I can just hope that others will sit with them during this crucifixion and be present in the grief, silent witnesses to love and to the desire to help and to the fundamental goodness of human beings.   That is a powerful and necessary witness at a time like this.

My faith says that there is a resurrection, and a heaven.  I believe in both.  But like many of us,  I just can’t get there yet.  I’m stuck at the crucifixion.  And it is okay to feel that way.










El Greco, Christ on the Cross


4 Responses to Stuck at the crucifixion

  1. Yes. To all of this. We are stuck at crucifixion, but I’m also deeply glad for a faith that embraces crucifixion.
    I too am so shaken by this, even surprised by the depths to which this has shaken me. So this affirmation that it’s ok to be stuck here at the cross right now – I needed to hear this. I can’t jump into Christmas cheer and have it all be swept up clean; solidarity with those who are suffering says it cannot be so. There is a need to grieve and to change who and how we are as a result of our grieving. Thank you so much for this.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Laura. I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one for whom Advent is feeling more like Good Friday. I cry at random moments, thinking about those children, and it’s not a feeling I can rush through or try to jolly myself out of.

  3. I’ve been thinking a lot about this reflection, agonizing, not wanting to be there, but appreciating the way that you named this place; it does help.

    So much of the commentary and blaming has been disheartening, but one friend is approaching the tragedy with action that you might appreciate – every day, she names one of the victims on her Facebook page and describes some act of kindness she does in that person’s name. Buying a coat for a child in need. Pre-purchasing a Subway meal for the next hungry customer. Etc. I’m sure that the specifics are less important than the idea of meticulously taking an opportunity to name and claim an act of beauty, kindness, and love in the world.

    Thought I’d share in case it is helpful; I found it inspiring…. Hope that you and your family are enjoying a blessed Christmas season!

  4. Therese, that’s an absolutely beautiful idea. I love it. Thank you for passing that idea along.

    I was talking to Scott just yesterday about wanting to *do* something concrete for Newtown — I am praying, of course, but I also feel the need to take action. This tragedy still haunts me (as I think it does many of us). I am still pondering various ways I can help/get involved and I love hearing how others are translating their grief into concrete actions of goodness. Thanks and happy New Year.