Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Listening to President Obama at the memorial service in Arizona, I heard many things about honoring the people who died in the tragedy a few days ago when a disturbed young man killed and injured people in a supermarket. The president talked about there being evil in the world but that it could be defeated by being civil to each other even if you disagree. We are all human beings and we are all Americans. The president talked about healing and not about politics.

In order to forgive, you have to face whatever it was that needs to be forgiven. You don't need to have the other person do anything or cooperate. Forgiving is something you do for yourself and it is a matter of letting go of the attachments you have to the anger. In the case of the person who fired the shots, it is possible he has no idea what he did. He may be totally incapable of understanding his own actions let alone accepting responsibility. Some people are blaming political pundits for their words and their websites. The president rejected this finger pointing. He wanted all of America to be better than this. He was directing a sense of healing for everyone.

Forgiving, letting go of one's anger is healthy for everyone. Unfortunately, it is not always possible. One time, I was in a restaurant in the San Francisco Airport and someone got me very angry for something that I have since forgotten. What I did remember was that when I got onto the plane that took me to Redding, I was very angry at whoever it was that I thought created the situation. The plane got into trouble and I thought it was going to crash. I did not want to die with that much anger in my heart. I was trying so hard to detach from it and couldn't. Now, I don't remember what the incident was. Obviously, the plane did not crash, but if it did I would have died with a whole lot of anger.

I don't have any real anger for the man who shot the congresswoman but I feel so much sorrow for those who died especially the nine year old girl who was born on 9/11.I did not know any of them personally. I doubt if the man with the pistol will ever understand the extent of his actions anymore than other people who have done similar things. Life is what it is. It is full of sorrow and unhappiness. It is karma that will rule in the end. If someone had shot someone I loved, the story would have been different.

I am grateful for the message that President Obama gave all of us. We need to heal and to forgive and to treat each other with respect. That is the only way we can overcome the terrible event that has caused so much pain and suffering. We need to reflect within and examine our own hearts and minds for the strength that is needed for the long journey ahead so we as a people can heal as those who were injured can heal too.

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