≡ Menu

There’s No “Instant Answer”

We live in an “instant” society; it’s the downside of technological advance to think we can solve everything. Now. We crank out bestsellers about the “secret” of success, the “path” to enlightenment, the “key” to wealth, the “recipe” for health, and the “fast track” to happiness — as if we can really figure_5.jpgformulize everything. It’s no wonder that we bring the same mentality to events like the Virginia Tech massacre.

Dennis Prager, in an article entitled, It’s Too Early for Healing, suggests that, instead of rushing for explanations and answers, we must give ourselves time to stew.

Within hours of the massacre of more than 30 people at Virginia Tech University, the president of the university issued his first statement on the evil that had just engulfed the college campus and concluded with this:

“We’re making plans for a convocation tomorrow at noon in Cassell Coliseum for the university to come together to begin the healing process from this terrible tragedy.”

Other university officials also spoke about beginning the healing process and about bringing in counselors to help students heal.

I believe that this early healing talk is both foolish and immoral.

It is foolish because one does not speak about healing the same day (or week or perhaps even month) that one is traumatized — especially by evil. One must be allowed time for anger and grief. To speak of healing and “closure” before one goes through those other emotions is to speak not of healing but of suppression.

Not to allow people time to experience their natural, and noble, instincts to feel rage and grief actually deprives them of the ability to heal in the long run. After all, if there is no rage and grief, what is there to heal from?

Prager’s piece is brief and very persuasive. I highly encourage you read it in its entirety.

29131667.jpgOver the next few weeks we will cover familiar ground. Memorials will be set up, heroes will be uncovered, individual stories will unfold, a psychological profile will be constructed, second-guessing will begin and, possibly, lawsuits will be filed. No doubt a discussion will start about campus security, how to identify the disturbed, violence in pop culture and, of course, gun laws. In other words, society will begin developing its “formula” for healing.

Like the world’s formula has ever really worked.

Perhaps we need something more — a time to grieve about the absolute brokenness of our culture, that no amount of technology or medicine or psycho-babble has healed us, that higher education cannot transform the human heart, and that real evil exists. Maybe then we can comfort the afflicted and genuinely heal. But until we give ourselves to this kind of solemn introspection, spiritual humility and non-politicized policy-making, we will only be concocting another instant answer.


Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on Reddit
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • janet April 19, 2007, 12:17 PM

    On one of those morning shows (Today or the Early Show) they had a young pastor who has been trying to help out at Virginia Tech. I liked the guy and felt sorry for him trying to answer their stupid questions. The blond lady actually asked him, “Is there one sentence in particular that seems to help these greiving parents? One thing you can say to them?” The pastor wisely replied that anything he could say would sound trite. He said the one thing that kept coming back to him is, “God is even here.” You’re right. Healing takes time. All the victims of Columbine that the news people keep calling in to comment on this tragedy are not “over it” I’m sure. My prayers continue going out for all who are suffering.

  • Mike Duran April 19, 2007, 1:01 PM

    Perceptive comments, Janet. The very nature of the news media requires sound bites (you know, “Can you sum up this horrific event in thirty seconds before we break for a car/burger/laundry soap commercial?”). I wonder that it is the dynamics of modern media that forces us to get over things faster than is humanly possibly. The one thing I deplore — more than seeing people worship on TV — is seeing them mourn. If there’s one thing that visual media cannot communicate more than genuine worship, it is heartfelt grief. Both are exploitative.

  • Remade April 19, 2007, 4:44 PM

    I tried to comment yesterday, but my internet wigged out (gotta love the things…).

    Anyway, just wanted to say “well said” and that I’m glad someone finally agrees with me on the subject (and on the comment that media can only exploit worship, too, but that’s another post).

  • Jackie April 19, 2007, 8:18 PM

    I highly doubt if any of the people traumatized are even ready to come to terms and accept the massacre as reality yet, let alone begin healing. The people who think it’s time for healing don’t have any sympathy.

  • David April 22, 2007, 2:40 AM

    Mike, I really appreciate your writing. It is apparent that you take time to think out the topic you are writing on.
    I agree with you that knee-jerk reactions in any direction are not likely to produce any good fruit. I keep waiting expectantly for the church to come to the place required by God in II Chronicles 7:14.
    — Peace to you.

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: