Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Darkness and light - Post 11- Candle 4- So a man in Portland put on a white mask and picked up a shotgun and walked into the mall and shot up winter wonderland. And in out family, we attended our community's wonderful Christmas sing along, a tradition I've come to love, Jewish as I am. The atmosphere was friendly and happy, all sorts of voices raised in song. Then we came home and lit our four mennorahs, with four candles in each and sang together, put the young ones to bed. And through it all I was haunted by the idea that somebody felt something that made him need to go shoot up winter wonderland and kill innocents. I go back to Dorothy Satten's teachings about emotion. Anger, hurt, and fear are a triad of emotions which are pretty interchangable. Think of the parent who, terrified, grabs a toddler out of the road and swats the kid's bottom. Fear can sure look like anger. And anger can look like fear or hurt if you've been taught long enough that "nice girls don't get mad" or hurt or fear like anger if your lesson has been "big boys don't cry." But there's a deeper triad, helplessness, rage and shame. We can talk about anger, hurt and fear, and we can aim them. Helplessness, rage and shame are too deep and primal for words or directionality. The paralyze or explode. As helpless or ashamed someone has ever felr, that's how much rage that person has. So when I think about today's mall shooter and all the other shooters I am terrified by their rage and deeply saddened by their helplessness and shame. And I know that earlier this afternoon, because I felt helpless to make the transition from a busy work day to a busy family evening smoothly and ashamed of how helpless and incompetent I felt, I lost my cool altogether and yelled at Bob and KK, neither of whom had done anything except point out my inefficiency by their efficiency. I hurt them even though I had no intention to. I commit to whatever physicl and spiritual disciplines I need to stay away from the edge of overwhelm and exhaustion, that place where I behave badly. I dedicate tonight's candle to all who struggle to contain and heal feelings of shame, rage and helplessness.

1 comment:

Mary said...

So hard not to feel overwhelmed at this season of the year...with so much going on. I understand the losing of cool. A human thing, and I am sure the others understood.