The Boston terror bombing and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas happened so close together. We were so riveted by the drama of the first we over looked the impact of the second. Both were so devastating to life, property and our sense of security.
Those two events reminded us that anything criminal or accidental could happen at anytime and anywhere, while we are at work or at play. Life can be snuffed out in an instant by human error or by human ideology. At times like these we seem so frail and powerless.
The tragic events in Boston and West, Texas eventually gave way to the ghastly news of Gosnell and Castro. These two depraved individuals reminded us that there are monsters living in our midst, operating houses of horror in our neighborhoods.
How many missing children are still chained to basement walls or locked in dark attics? How many innocents will be painfully executed today, just moments after taking their first breath? The mind doesn’t want to go there and when it dares to it doesn’t stay long. It can’t.
And now there’s Moore. How appropriately tragic is the recent desolation at Moore Oklahoma. More tragedy. More loss of life. More dead children huddled in the hallways and classrooms of their elementary school - echoes of Sandy Hook haunting us. Can we take any more bad news?
The F4 tornado that leveled this typical American suburb reminds us that the cruelty of nature is every bit as atrocious as the insanity of man. Both are senseless. Both hurt. Both make us question the wisdom and intentions of our Creator.
There is a term in the helping profession that describes what happens to people who are overwhelmed with the needs they are seeing and meeting everyday – “Compassion Fatigue”. The bad news people are ingesting everyday takes from the little remaining margins of compassion they may have. We all eventually reach our limit for caring. We are forced to tune out what is happening to others as a sort of survival mechanism. It’s not that we are indifferent. We are simply incapable of bearing it all.
It is especially tough for folks like us who work hard each day to meet needs, solve problems and mediate conflicts. The kind of news we are hearing about when we turn on the TV or computer is especially draining at the end of long and trying day.
Therefore, be careful. Consume the news in moderation. Seek the Lord daily for your strength. Find time, make time, in your busy schedule to rest and reflect on the victories, the good news, and the difference you are making. Even Jesus had to leave the suffering multitudes to rest and reconnect.
There is some good in all of this bad news. These tragedies make the difficulties inherit in our work seem rather small in comparison. The one positive side to all this bad news is that it gives us proper perspective. We who have not suffered these horrible things should never fail to be grateful. The troubles this day will bring us are likely to be pretty small in contrast.
We should also take comfort in seeing the multitudes of helpers who show up at times like these. In the midst of the devastation in Moore Oklahoma are hundreds of professionals and volunteers alike doing everything they can to help. They show us by their actions that there are plenty of good, decent people and compassion is still alive despite it all.
So, refuse to give in to the fatigue. Be thankful for all things. And keep giving all you can. Then prepare yourself to give some more.