I don’t often write about difficult subjects in my columns. There is no shortage of negative news swirling around day after day and it can be exhausting and draining, and I leave that to others. I try to focus on what shines rather than what harms. I can’t find my way to that place today. I feel lost in the abyss of life. Though the tragic unthinkable violence in Nova Scotia didn’t take the life of someone I knew personally, the madness touches us all across the country, brings harm to our lives, lets Evil in, allows the unimaginable to become real.
We think of our own little pocket of the world as being safe sanctuary, where we can pull the covers up at night and feel protected, our innocence intact, our hope polished to what we think is a bright impenetrable sheen. But then ….
We know madness and violence has no fixed address. It wanders and finds breath in the most sacred of places. We want answers, we want to blame, to point a finger and say, “It was you. It was you who stole our precious innocence.” But in truth, in our most human of souls, there are no answers. There is no explanation that can restore the lives devastated by loss, no words that will rebuild a community’s sense of shelter.
To quantify this act of inhumane cruelty is an added blow to those suffering. To call an act the “worst in Canadian history” reeks of ambulance chasing. We have all had our “worst” day, our greatest loss, our heart broken beyond what we think can be repaired. We need not compare, need not hold our “loss” up against another’s for measurement.
This Nova Scotia community, that I have driven through and admired its pristine quaint beauty, are experiencing their “worst” on a public stage. When the public forum and discussion has drifted away, these people will quietly go about the rebuilding of lives shattered, of putting the pieces back in some order that may look like it once did, but they are forever changed.
Evil won’t win. It never does, even when it seems mighty and too powerful to stand against. Evil can’t sustain itself, can’t be fed when acts of kindness and beauty rise up from the brokenness, hope finding new root, love having put its arms out to embrace one another, to hold each other close, to say I am here for you. Evil hasn’t a chance against love and kindness.
We light candles. We bow our heads. We reach out with money that we are able share. We ache for each other. These seem small acts against something so violent and ugly. But even the smallest candle, even the smallest voice takes the light away from Evil and shines the path for us to follow. Refusing to give Evil a name, refusing to tell his story, weakens Evil even more.
The sun will rise tomorrow even for those who can’t bear to look right now, can’t bear to imagine that life might ever be ordinary again. One day soon they will feel the warm breath of life on their face and will smile and will take up the path again, extending their hand and heart the next time Evil crashes through.