The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

July 2016: Tragedy

Posted on Jul 16, 2016

July 2016: Tragedy

Tragedy. It’s everywhere these days. What’s happening with our world? Where is all this global violence coming from? How have we progressed as a society in some ways, and yet regressed in others?

I don’t even know how to process all that’s going on in the world: from mass murdering people celebrating in France on Bastille Day, to the “gun slinging” in the States, to the murder of an innocent five-year-old child here in Alberta—just to name a few current events. The violence seems to be escalating along with climate change and natural disasters. How to make sense of it all?

For starters, suffering is “simply” part of life. There is no reason for it. It just is. Healing from tragedy requires us to make meaning of our personal suffering; but first we have to accept it as part of life. Suffering need not be taken as a personal agenda against us to teach us a lesson or test us—in fact that perspective can be very harmful. We can definitely learn lessons from or find meaning in what we experience, but that is not necessarily the reason for the suffering. Life happens to everyone. Everyone handles it differently. Some better than others. We can all learn from each other as we suffer commonly as a human race. Suffering can bring us together or draw us apart. Lately it seems to be more divisive than unifying.

Another basic human experience is that life is unfair. There are no guarantees or true talismans. At this thought, we can get sucked into despondency and depression. Or we can be motivated to love more, help more, share more, be more compassionate, be agents of change, be kind, be better humans. Live up to human potential rather than succumb to human baseness. Quit blaming and take ownership/responsibility. Set boundaries. Address disrespectful and harmful behaviour. Attend to each other. Appreciate. Make a difference. Expend positive energy. Contribute. Participate. Embrace. Promote healing and well being. The list is endless of the constructive ways we can effect change.

I really appreciate this quote by Dr. Sue Johnson, therapist and author:

Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.

Somehow our world (and dare I say institutionalized religion) has lost touch with our fundamental need to love and be loved. I agree with A. Bertoli that our very purpose to be on this planet is to master loving each other. To take care of each other. We have failed miserably as a species to promote our very survival through compassionate care of one another and our world.

As overwhelming as it seems to correct this shift towards destruction of this planet and its occupants, we must grab onto hope that love will win in the end. We must reclaim our power to effect change through love and caring. We must redouble our efforts to be there for each other in all the suffering and tragedy that occurs all around us—even when we perpetrate the suffering and tragedy against ourselves as a global community. It’s heartbreaking to consider how we can be so cruel to each other. Let’s counter cruelty with connection and not division or separation.

How about this for a new twist on an old slogan: Keep Calm and Care On!


  1. And that is why we don’t watch the news…although we hear it on the radio a lot :-s. I do like the idea of “love more, help more, share more, be more compassionate, be agents of change, be kind, be better humans. Live up to human potential”. I think my husband has helped me do that more than if I were still single. I always used to think “I can’t be of any help to them, I’m a single girl with a car & no knowledge of {whatever}.” But now, even if I’m alone, I’ll stop & see if someone needs help that’s on the side of the road or whatever. We could be so amazing if we all just learned to get along & share & be compassionate & not so self-centered in everything we do…

    Keep calm & care on!

  2. I am a firm believer that we, as a society, are called to love one another, no matter the race, colour of our skin, sexuality, etc. We need to look beyond the end of our noses and notice that “we” can make a difference in our everyday lives. It can be as simple as telling someone that they look great in that outfit, opening the door for someone else or even smiling at someone.

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