Aurora theater shooting reveals numbing reality

By Charme Robarts
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The views in this piece are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Inside The Pew staff.

Reeling from shock and pain we rush to issues of justice and blame and gun control and violence in entertainment. The pain arouses our passion.

But we cannot rush past the grief.

Through our TV windows we see a rush of images. Lives snuffed out, agony creased faces of survivors, innocent, unknowing children hoisted on the shoulders of their dads attending the memorial gatherings. We mourn it all.

Down in the grief where we all try to breathe underwater, we may see in each other’s eyes questions of how and why things have gone so wrong.  Could the struggle for breath in these murky waters cause us to slow down, to think hard about how anyone of us could become so disaffected and isolated as to do unthinkable things?

Psychologists know that when we experience disappointments, rejection, and humiliation in our lives, we respond around what is called the Compass of Shame. These responses or reactions to the hurt we endure in life range from withdrawing and isolating to attacking others. We all make our way around this compass, most of us in fairly mild ways; but obviously some are extreme in their reactions. It is hard work to deal with our pain in healthy ways.

As we grieve this new tragedy in the city named for the bright mysteries that sometimes grace the sky, I hope we can reach for light and find ways to deal with hurt and disappointment in non violent ways. That is what we wish James Holmes had done.

Fort Worth resident Charme Robarts, a graduate of Abilene Christian University, is a caseworker with First Street Methodist Mission in Fort Worth.  Read more of Robarts’ writings on her blog, Speak What You Feel.

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