Preaching to the Choir
I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to reduce the amount of time I’m on my phone and on social media. Instead, I’m teaching my almost four year old that electronic devices are the norm and consistently failing to teach her that humanity can live a life off the grid.
But unfortunately, the same way that a once a month letter from the aunt that lived across the pond connected her relatives with the latest news a century ago, social media is the way we connect now. It’s the way we can collectively be excited for our favorite teams playing against a hated rival. It’s the way we can stand in unity with our brothers and sisters struggling against giant corporations. It’s the way we can mourn as one with the loss of a young child.
I cannot come to terms with the recent loss of a gorgeous blond, blue-eyed, toothy-smiley, sweetheart of a face. I cannot focus my thoughts into generating an emotion equivalent to any of the pain she went through. To even scratch the surface of her terror and fright is like…I don’t even know.
I know that a lot of people don’t believe in Heaven or Hell. And those that believe these are places, believe that they are destinations we go to when we die. That’s not true.
We can live in hell. Our lives can be hell. It is a place of separation. A place a part. A place of torture. A place that can devour those it touches. What Victoria Martens went through was hell. And writing that statement seems to just be putting it mildly. The people who tortured her were her hell incarnate. Who they are and what they did is the epitome of pure evil in this world.
But what comes of it? We rid the world of the evil and the hell that we know. Is it as simple a problem and a solution as having a weed in a garden? It takes preparation, diligence, awareness, unending attention, and foresight. It’s hard work and we all at some point shirk our responsibilities. Too tired. Not our business. Not our community. Not our problem. So why then when something bad happens do we all mourn if it wasn’t our problem to begin with?
It shouldn’t take the gruesome death of a child to make us realize how precious our little ones are. It shouldn’t be that any tragedy makes us “wake up”…we should all always be awake and vigilant.
My daughter knows more about what’s really going on in the world better than I do and she’s not yet four. But she saw me looking at that photo on my phone.
“Who is that girl?” She asked. I couldn’t figure out what to say. So I asked her, “Isn’t she pretty?”
“Yes,” she replied. Her next question froze my heart.
“Did she grow up?”
Tears that were aching to be free from within started filling up in my eyes.
What do I say? And I know my daughter knows more than I do deep within her soul. She lost one of her own. A girl I know she would have easily played with despite the difference in their ages.
So without betraying the anguish in my heart that I tried to keep in check for my daughter’s sake, I just simply asked her to say a prayer for Victoria.
“Her name is Victoria. Let’s just ask God to take care of her. Okay?”
And in saying that aloud to my daughter, a part of me thinks, it’s a little too late for that…but we proceed. And the moment is over.
And only now, that I write this down, is it clear to me that in sharing that moment with my daughter, I asked her to think of someone other than herself. To ask God, whether you believe or not, to look after someone else. Show concern for someone else. To sympathize. To empathize. Something Victoria’s killers were incapable of doing for her.