I find myself two days after the tragedy at Virginia Tech still turning on the television hoping there will be some kind of news that will explain it. As
mentioned, it’s strange to be overseas when such an event happens back in the States. I’m brokenhearted about the tragedy but feel too far away. And I feel torn that I’m removed, as if I would want to feel a deeper sense of connection to such a horrific event. In fact, I do want to…or something in me wants to. As soon as I heard, my mind went to the people I know who live there, the fact that my mom works on a college campus, the fact that Virginia Tech is in the ACC as is my husband’s alma mater. Weak links, really. Nothing that connects me directly to the tragedy. Am I searching for reasons to justify the sadness I feel? (As in, “oh, my mom works on a college campus, it could have happened there…I’m justified in feeling vulnerable.”) I’ve seen others of us in LJ land making these connections too. Maybe we feel compelled to share the weight of the tragedy. Maybe we want to remind ourselves that we are vulnerable, that it could have happened anywhere.
Or maybe all of us, regardless of the details of our lives, really are connected. We all experience the same happiness, sadness, pain, loss, loneliness. We each go through troubled moments in our souls, as the killer apparently was going through. We each have moments that hint at the kind of fear the victims must have felt. We understand the anguish their parents and friends must feel because we too have experienced loss. We are more alike than we are different.
It rings a little hollow to talk about the importance of connecting with each other, of creating community with one another, regardless of our differences. It sounds a bit like rhetoric that comes as a response to such a tragic event. But I hope to be the kind of writer that will help the reader see similarities, that will prompt recognition of the fact that we each have the same deep needs, that we’re all made from the same material. I hope to be the kind of writer that invites the reader out of hiding, that calls the reader to look at his own heart and to admit to his own needs and insecurities and to recognize those needs in others.
And the truth is, I may never be that kind of writer. So instead, I hope to be that kind of person.
May God pour out His grace on the students and faculty of Virginia Tech and on the friends and families of the victims.