Making sense of violence

Making sense of violence

The latest ‘breaking news’…

The wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and eastern Ukraine. The continued violence in Nigeria; more girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. They still haven’t found all of the girls abducted from their school in Chibok four years ago.

Millions of people are killed and injured. Millions more are displaced and are seeking refuge, as they are forced to flee their homes in hope of survival. The roots of conflict are complex and run deep with myriad of sectarian dynamics. It’s no wonder a solution isn’t quick and easy.

What is the purpose of violence? National identity? Religion? Power? Politics?

The daily news leaves me feeling heavy, sad and depressed most of the time. When the news stories make it into my dreams I know it’s time to tune out and take a break for my own sanity. Some people say I live in an ignorant bubble if I don’t pay attention to the news every day. So be it. I like my ignorant bubble!

How do I sit with the pain and anguish of violence yet remain open? How can I sit here and do nothing except sign petitions asking to stop the violence?

I feel powerless. I’m a doer. An action-oriented person. I like to get my hands dirty and do work on the ground. Not on the front-lines of war though. I’m not a soldier. I have to channel my anger somehow. If I bear witness and do nothing, is that cowardly? What can I do?

The moment I feel my anger rising, the moment I can see myself shutting down, is the moment that the doorway needs to open in my heart.

I feed my frustrations into my writing, so that they can be released onto paper. I focus my efforts on what I can do. I can speak out about compassion or raise money for our school in India for Helping Hands. I can do more.

Perhaps my job is not to make sense of the reasons why other people choose to act as they do – I may never fully understand. I cannot solve all of the world’s problems, although I wish I could. My job is to seek for my own personal understanding of violence, to come to terms with it.

Perhaps my biggest job of all is to have compassion for the perpetrators of violence. My own experience is from growing up during the times of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

 “Dear God, please continue to guide me through this darkness. I hope this will all make sense in time.”

… to be continued. An excerpt from early writing of my next book “Guided by Love.”