The problem isn’t that my heart breaks for the senseless tragedy in Nice. It’s that my heart hadn’t healed yet from the senseless tragedies in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minnesota last week or from Baghdad at the end of Ramadan or the Istanbul airport or Orlando. A small knot of sadness is centered somewhere on my heart as I struggle to both not be numbed by all this senseless death and struggle and to not to use up entirely my wells of empathy and sympathy. Is this what August 1914 felt like or 1939? The build up towards chaos seems omnipresent, even for me, an eternal optimist.
Yet, hope abounds as we come together to sing, pray, listen, talk, and listen some more. My hometown did not descend into madness after five officers were shot last week. It turned out in force for memorial services and overwhelmed the Myerson with choir members. Leaders of faith of all kinds have joined together to work on what ways to move forward, to hope. There are mountains to climb toward understanding and even more toward collective actions that foment change. We have real, structural issues as a nation that we need to rectify. If I focus on the hope, on the ways we can move forward, if I listen, then I shift that sadness a bit toward healing. I don’t want my memorize of Nice to be the images of this week. I want it to be my first real cup of dark, hot chocolate at 14 and deep red cherries for breakfast. I want to remember rocky beaches and swimming in the Mediterreanean.