It would feel like something dark with sharp yellow talons had punched its way into my chest, clawed out my heart, and thrown it like a fastball against the opposite wall. The pain would be complete, an un-nameable thing, reaching into and past the depths of my soul.
The pain would shred my mind and I would want nothing more than to escape it. It would be selfish and cowardly, because I would still have a wife and two lovely children who love me and need me. But I would want to leave myself, to leave the bottomless pain.
In that kind of darkness, words are meaningless. Even the most tender of words rings hollow. Explanations? Reasons? Solutions? Debates about how to avoid future pain? Meaningless. Worse than meaningless—salt in the wound of devastation.
Talk about redemption? An insult to the depth of our sorrow.
We talk a lot about redemption here at UnTangled. Because it is a good thing, maybe even the best of things. But there are times and places in which the word should not be uttered, at least not for now. We find ourselves, as Americans—and as citizens of the human race—in one of those places this morning.
At a time like this, words—even words about redemption—only deepen the pain. At times like this, the only thing that matters is presence. Being together. Reaching out and grasping for a hand, any hand that’s offered in love. Leaning into the one, or the One, that will hold us up.
At times like this, simply putting one foot in front of the other is the epitome of courage, and it’s really the only thing we can ask of each other.
And so I’ll ask.
Can we be together instead of divided? Can we lend a hand rather than a cliché? Can we wrap each other in an embrace instead of a debate? There will be time for all of that later. For now, can we simply lend each other the strength to take one more step forward?