Hands Holding Plant
Growthfrom pain to perspective

Tragedy and Grace

 
 
Image courtesy of Ron Rocz  Photography

Shattering losses and deepening divisions are gathering at our horizon.  This kind of ice age brings a cold and distant disconnectedness that presses everything apart.  Collaboration wanes, communities falter, and fatal problems prevail.  Some among us feel the effects sooner than others.  We often call them mentally ill, but sometimes they are like canaries in the mine of our collective consciousness, warning that the atmosphere of our interactions is turning too toxic to survive.

On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered a Wednesday evening Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, SC.  A dozen people welcomed him.  He sat through the study quietly, before executing his mission.  As he later confessed, he almost did not go through with it, the people were so nice.  When it was over, nine of the twelve lay dead.

The events that followed were not what was expected.  Somehow grace prevailed, not hate.  A community and a state were moved to compassion and understanding.  An uncommon caring lingered long after the ceremonies were over.  The “better angels of our nature”  lit a light of hope that there may be a way we will all walk out of this darkness together.
 
 




Dylann's Grace

Dylann, don’t go down where the darkness makes that sound,
The sound of pain changing into hate.
Angels watch and wait, embracing you with grace.
Don’t let the darkness take their place.

Once when you were young, you sat out in the sun,
And felt the warmth of light upon your face.
You heard the songbirds singing then, and wished that you had wings,
And remembered you were born for better things.

I don’t know where things went wrong.  Sometimes we lose the songs,
Along with all the dreams that lead to home.
When believing leaves, we’re most alone.
In the hopelessness of loneliness, your heart turned into stone.

So, you sit inside the circle, in the sunlight of their grace,
With hands upon the blackened bag that holds your hidden face.
When all of this is finished, the world will hear your roar.
Yet Mother Emanuel’s answer will tell us so much more.
   
    The President came and sang Amazing Grace.
    The Governor attended all nine funerals. 
    And the Legislature brought down the Confederate flag.

And you who now go down where the darkness makes that sound,
The sound of pain changing into hate:
Angels watch and wait, embracing you with grace.
Don’t let the darkness take their place.