The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Beauty in Fragility

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on January 9, 2011

Life is so precious in part because it is at once so fragile and yet so enduring. At the end of the day, everything we think we have, including our closest loved ones, are on temporary loan to us from God, the universe, whatever you want to call it.

As I think about the tragedy of the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and bystanders, I think of the randomness of it all. Bad things happen sometimes. Even horrible – the worst! – things happen.

There has been plenty of political rhetoric especially since the rise of the Tea Party movement, but I don’t blame them. I don’t think it’s wise or particularly tasteful to put people – actual, living human beings – in gun sights, even if it’s just pretend – but I don’t think that caused this horrible tragedy.

What caused this horrible tragedy is the fact that sometimes in the world there are crazy people who do horrible things. Sometimes also there are hurricanes and floods, earthquakes and train wrecks.

A quick look at two of the shooter’s videos posted on Youtube was all I needed to see to realize he is clearly crazy. Often schizophrenia emerges in young men of his age. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns out to be schizophrenic or have some other grave mental disease.

It is horrifying that he had ready access to the gun he used to commit his crimes, but I don’t believe tighter gun laws would have stopped him from eventually obtaining what he used.

It is hard to accept that sometimes there is horror in life and it’s just that — horror. It’s not possible to assign rational blame. So where do you put the hurt, the anger, the worry, the fear?

You move past it, and you turn it to an appreciation for the miracle that is the endurance of life. I heard this morning that Gabrielle Giffords was able to squeeze her hand and hold up two fingers, both signs that she could understand commands, which indicates function in the left side of her brain, which was devastated by the bullet. To be shot in the head, to have a bullet completely go through your brain and come out the other side, and to emerge alive and with even the most rudimentary of function, is nothing short of a miracle.

Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish (the first ever female Jewish member of Congress from Arizona) so I’ll call it nes, or miracle. Nes, nes, nes.


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