Today is a tough day.
As someone who spent three decades in education and six years as an administrator in an elementary school in Houston, TX, it is a very tough day.
For the parents and families and friends of the 19 children and two adults killed in Uvalde, Texas yesterday, it is an unbearably tough day.
What were supposed to be the last few days of the school year for these children and teachers and families has turned into unbelievable tragedy. But the reality is, it has become believable – because we have experienced this violence just these last weeks in Buffalo, and Dallas and Orange County. And before that in so many places in the previous weeks and months and years. It is seemingly too much to bear even for those of us at a distance. But it is not at a distance because we are all connected through our common humanity.
We as a nation and a society are sick and wounded, and divided, and broken, because we as individuals are sick and wounded, and divided within ourselves, and broken. But until we can admit to the illness and the wounds, the division, and the brokenness, we cannot be made whole.
On the shelf in my office is a piece of pottery that has been broken and put back together in a process of Japanese art called kintsugi. Kintsugi acknowledges brokenness but the artist knows there is beauty in the brokenness. Melded together with gold or silver or platinum, the broken piece becomes even more beautiful.
People are like pottery and there are a lot of broken pieces laying around that need to be mended and made whole. They cannot simply be tossed away and until they are mended, the jagged edges cut and cause pain and hurt.
I believe in the Jewish principle of “tikkun olam” – that our daily task is to heal the world, to re-weave the torn fabric of creation.
On days like today, in my own grief and sadness, I can do nothing more than sit with the words of L.R. Knost, “Do not be dismayed at brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time as they say, but with intention. So, go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is in you.”