Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Words for the unspeakable

Nancy French has a great article on her blog about yesterday's tragic events in Virginia, asking if our insatiable quest for information really helps us process events of this magnitude. I am so grateful for her perspective; it makes me realize that I'm not the only one out there who isn't helped by knowing more about a situation that is so unfathomable.

I tend to numb out when I hear news like what happened yesterday. In the face of tragedy, my mind reverts to what is practical, predictable, controlled. I do laundry. I bake. Anything that allows me to take some sort of mess or chaos and turn in into something neat and orderly, anything that keeps me from thinking or wondering about things I can't possibly imagine, that I don't even want to imagine (even though I feel deep down inside like I should want to imagine them, like it's the right thing to do under the circumstances). For most of us, there isn't a right thing to do.


LEstes65 said...

I find our facination with the minutiae of all things horrible is really weird. It's like the gridlock traffic that stretches literally for miles and when you get there? It was just everyone (including me) craning their necks to catch a glimpse of something gruesome. I think there is something in us that always wants a little drama in the face of a seemingly boring event. But when the real horror hits (think Waco, 9/11, VTech, etc), we don't want it. It reminds me of my drama queen self when I have a minor illness, I tend to want to make it sound as bad as possible. But when something truly painful or scary happens, I don't want the added detail for drama. I want it to be something little again.

I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm just glad that I'm friends with people like you who have the initial response to just stop what they're doing and pray.

You rock.

ellesappelle said...

I agree with both you and Lynette. It's strange, when we are so used to seeing horrific things on TV now, that yesterday's events actually made me feel sick (not physically but I'm sure you understand what I mean). There's something very scary about the idea of someone massacring people like that who have nothing to do with what he's angry about.

Beck said...

Not only did I spend yesterday baking, but I went to visit a friend today and her house was filled with baking, too. I've declared a personal news ban for myself - I can't bear anymore.