Jane here, and when I woke up today I decided not to blog. I felt so angry and sad about the Virginia Tech murders yesterday. I couldn’t think of anything positive to say in the wake of such horror. There are no words.
But something has comforted me. This post is probably going to sound like the worst kind of slush – “soppy”, as we used to say, something I dislike. But I’ll risk it!
I took our dog for his usual morning walk before starting work. It’s glorious spring here – “Oh to be in England now that April’s there” and all that – but the beauty of it made me if anything sadder. Then I met a man with his dog, who told me he’s staying in our neighbourhood on holiday for a few days, and asked me for some local information – about good walks, and the nearest beech where dogs can run free. I answered his questions, at first flying on auto-pilot more or less, not wishing to be rude to a stranger. But as we talked I remembered the good things about the places I was describing. Like our local beach: Richard and I took our pooch there last Sunday, and it was warm and happy, with families enjoying the sun and sand, and several games of cricket going on in among the picnickers. The holiday man thanked me and remarked how lovely everything looked in the spring sunshine. I said, “Yes, it does,” and realised I meant it. Trees putting on their green leaves, flowers coming out, birds singing, sun shining in a beautiful blue sky. I walked home feeling better.
Of course I’m no less angry and sad about mindless violence, but this small incident reminded me how life goes on. It must. What we have to do – it’s probably the hardest thing in the world – is not to let rage and gloom overwhelm us to the exclusion of everything else. If we allow that, the influence of evil deeds spreads far beyond the poor people directly hurt. To use an expression from World war 2 – when they had gloom enough to face – we must keep on keeping on.
Well, I did warn you it might sound soppy. But it’s true.