Within Every Bad Act lies a Seed of Redemption

A week ago today, those Connecticut school children and their teachers were healthy, well, and enjoying their lives. Now, they are gone and there is nothing any person or society can do to bring them back.

Making sense of the incomprehensible is a nearly impossible task, but I believe we still must try. And even if we cannot find a way to understand, there are intermediate steps we can take. It may not help those sweet babies and their brave, brave teachers, but what progress we do make will be in their name and in celebration of their lives.

As someone reminded me recently, within every bad act lies a seed of redemption. If you choose, as I do, to believe this and to seek out that seed, it can provide a motivation to move forward with our lives and society in a constructive manner. Those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary should not be defined by their deaths—it is easy to lose sight of this considering the circumstances—but by the bright light they added to their worlds and to those of their loved ones. While, of course, we who are left behind will cry and mourn their passing, we must also move beyond our sad reaction—herein lies the seed.

I will go so far as to suggest that the types of behaviors needed to cultivate that seed of redemption in the face of such loss are the same ones we as individuals need to hone in our own lives with our personal struggles and doubts and losses. Of course these pale in comparison to the Newtown tragedy, but the determination and discipline needed to overcome setbacks large and small require a similar skillset. Taking the steps necessary to recover and move beyond a loss requires us to decide we will seek out that seed and nourish it. As the father of one of the dead school children said, we cannot allow this loss to define us or her [his daughter].

I remind myself, too, that in each of the books I have read about near death experiences, those who have “died” and returned uniformly write about the tremendous sensation of loving support beyond anything they could ever have imagined. The survivors say they didn’t want to “come back” despite having delightful earthly lives, so wondrous was their experience on the other side. Because I believe in life after death, I also believe that a “better place” does exist and that those sweet children and their teachers are there. They are not abandoned, and neither are their families, friends, or even us.

So what does this mean for those of us left behind? We must remind ourselves how fragile life is such that any of us can exit this earthly realm before we are ready. The tragedy at Newtown will spur at least some societal changes, I hope, and, on a more individual level, impel us to draw upon the wells of our own resilience and compassion when confronted by shattering loss. If each day is lived as if it is our last or the last for the people around us, how might this change our behavior and attitudes? How might we rise above the tragedy and find a better way to live and love? Such presence of mind can fade in the course of prosaic, daily stresses, but let us hope that the tragedy at Newtown might also serve to remind us to nourish our own seed of redemption.

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One Response to “Within Every Bad Act lies a Seed of Redemption”

  1. Julie Crispin Says:

    Beautifully written, Rett.

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