Over the weekend, riots in Nicaragua claimed at least 24 souls; a suicide bombing in Afghanistan killed more than 55 people; 4 people were killed by gunfire in Chicago. Not a peep from my lips to the Lord’s ears about any of this.
Sunday morning, April 22, Travis Reinking pulled into a parking lot in Nashville, Tennessee and began shooting, killing four people and injuring at least two others. The news was a blip on my radar that day as I rushed to finish my studies before going to a campus-wide celebration of Earth Day.
Yesterday, April 23, Alek Minassian drove a white rental van down the sidewalk of Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario, killing (at the time of this writing) ten people and injuring at least fifteen. I winced hearing the report on my car radio as I was driving to the store. I said a quick prayer, and in the same breath, I yelled at the car in front of me for not reacting quickly enough as the light turned green.
Truthfully, I’m disgusted with myself because I don’t bother to acknowledge the lives lost anymore. I don’t pray against the violence in the world, nor do I intercede for the fearful, the tormented, the mourners, the orphans and widows. I don’t cry out as did the prophet Habakkuk, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence! but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2, NIV)
Over the years I’ve heard countless reports of massacres, shootings, wars, rapes, assaults, abductions, molestations, and genocides. I’ve witnessed, first hand, injustice, food deserts, war zones, child abuse, failing mental healthcare, crumbling schools, and abject poverty. I’ve met souls wrecked by fear, abuse, pain, brokenness, silence, bitterness, and loneliness.
The onslaught I have been witness to has numbed me: I have contracted tunnel vision. As long as nothing happens in my life’s tiny bubble, things are okay. I may occasionally give a cursory nod to the outside world’s troubles, but it rarely goes beyond that. I am no longer disturbed by the evil in this world. Violence is laying claim on my life as a fatality.
Today I pray that I can once again be shaken and broken by the world around me. I pray that I can recognize the evil in this world. I pray that I can cry out against the wrongs committed. I pray that the blinders I have put on may be removed. I pray that I can see; and not only see, but act, and help this world to overcome violence’s grip on life.
much love. sheth.