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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Forgotten

Grand Rapids, Michigan experienced a terrifying tragedy yesterday when seven persons were murdered in their homes.

Yesterday was a beautiful summer day.

Flowers and grasses bloomed in profusion. Water flowed, following its own unique and poignant paths in rivers and streams. Birds sang happily, perched in trees

And seven people lost their lives...along with the gunman who took his own life many hours after the first of the shootings.

The gunman was a thirty-four year old man, recently released from prison. An acquaintance of his commented in an interview that he had lived a hard life. According to the news he was bi-polar and had not been taking his medicine. Reports indicate that there were relationship issues involved in most of the shootings.

In the end, the gunman sought refuge by forcing his way into a home and holding the people there hostage for several hours.

All of this feels so especially significant to me because the house where he forced his way into is located two blocks from my home. He was also reported to have visited a favorite neighborhood coffee shop sometime yesterday.

The incident is resonating very strongly with me and I am searching my heart today for the spiritual message in what has just occurred.

On a human level, there was, of course, an intense concern for safety by everyone who found himself near the scenes of the action. And shock that such a thing could occur. And sorrow and sadness for everyone who was affected by it.

But, after we process our human reaction, what do we do with this experience that has forced itself into our lives?

On a spiritual level, I feel there is undoubtedly a message for us.

The message is a reminder to all of us that we are our brother’s keeper.

The gunman was an individual who had obviously experienced some very damaging events in his life…events for whom the pain had not been healed.

And, because it was not healed, more destruction occurred.

We can also up the ante on this picture by realizing that this individual suffered from a bi-polar condition and was reportedly not taking his medication.

Was the gunman a picture for us of the individuals we somehow leave behind…individuals who are suffering silently because the world does not always take care of its own, offering love and support and encouragement to them? Individuals who are overlooked because we sometimes place our energy and efforts in other places rather than making the safety and security of all inhabitants of the world our first priority?

A strong shift by the world in the direction of extending love to everyone, respecting everyone, honoring everyone would surely change the course of human interactions, crime and even the wars in which we find ourselves embroiled.

The world is moving to a higher spiritual evolution and all that is counter-productive to this needs to be recognized, addressed, attended to and released.

There is a very high spiritually evolved theory that persons in this life who live out roles of destruction are spiritual beings who have taken on this heavy burden to help all of us move forward in our learning and knowledge. And, according to this theory, the persons who lost their lives to the madness fulfilled a beautiful soul contract they had entered into.

Regardless of what belief we hold about what occurred here, it seems very important that we find something in it to help us see the world with new eyes and be the agents to help make it a better place to be.

flower image from age-dtoperfection.com


  1. It is difficult to understand any logical reason for such a tragedy. Looking through the prism of this particular explanation, we have the ability to widen our vision and conciously send light and love to all who we encounter each day. Even something as simple as a smile can make a hugh immediate or subtle difference. Any face, even the saddest, can be transformed with our smile aimed directly at their soul. I know it works, I try to do it everyday.

  2. Thank you for your reflection on this tragedy. So many people slip through the cracks. Surely we can learn to care carefully for each other.

  3. It is a sad thing that so many in our world seem to be falling through the cracks in our collective caring for our brothers and sisters in the world. The systemic failures the gunman suffered from were results of systemic failures in many areas as the author has alluded to. Tragedies such as this can either wake us up or we can choose to go deeper into indifference to the suffering of others. Each of us must make a choice! I choose life and love!