Thursday, December 20, 2012

Responding Via Art

The recent tragedy at a school in the US has really affected me. The tragedy of the moment that made the news is staggering alone, but there is also a tragedy in the events/circumstances that lead up to that moment, and there is also tragedy in the emotional damage that will take a very long time to heal from. But amidst the tragedy there is hope and there is healing and there are people out there doing the healing. Perhaps you've seen this quote from Mr. Rogers, one of America's favorite children's programs:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

I have several old friends who live in the Newtown, CT area who, while not directly affected with the loss of a loved one, are indirectly -and significantly- affected by this situation. They are among 'the helpers'. They are helping people in their community process and heal from this tragedy (while also processing it themselves).

One of them, Bryn, is an artist. He responded to the tragedy with this painting, which I find incredibly moving. You can read more about this piece on his blog here; he also explains certain elements of the painting. I think it's easy to associate creativity with joy and happiness (look how we decorate for Christmas and weddings), but creativity is also a kind of solace and can be a tool for grieving and working through things. I think it's easy to forget that sometimes.

If you'd like to help the healers, you can pray for them and you can also contribute financially to a fund organized by a large local church where the "money will be used for both immediate and long-term counseling services, as well as longer-term care that will best help our community get back on its feet." I realize not everybody may connect with a church-related way of supporting a situation like this, and that's ok. I just wanted to share a way to help that's been on my heart.

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