tragedy ˈtradʒɪdi /noun
1. an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
That's it. That's exactly it. Great suffering. Destruction. Distress. Accidents. Crime. Natural catastrophes. It's everywhere. All over the news. All over social media. And the truth is, most of it is happening thousands of miles away from me.
Last week, on Tuesday morning I walked into school with a heavy heart after reading up on all the chaos in Las Vegas. I knew I would not only have to respond to this tragedy as an American, but as a teacher as well. In 2nd period on that day I looked out into a classroom of 24 eager faces of students that will be traveling to the U.S this November for a homestay program. I gathered my thoughts and looked them straight in the face and told them not to be afraid. Meanwhile, internally, I was a mess.
It's a really odd feeling...being this far away from all thats happening in the states. I mean, Japan is not void of problems, but when I turn on the news and see the worst of our problems being "Elderly man accidentally drives car on Hokkaido train track for more than a kilometer" and "Security camera footage leads police to arrest woman over graffiti at Nagano temple" I can't help but see what a difference there is between the two countries I call home.
So when I stand in front of my students and I see their bright faces, never having left the safety net of Japanese society, I want so badly to somehow -in the same breath- protect them and yet make sure they know the truth. Make sure they know reality. I want them to know that yes, in America people have guns. And yes, people use them and kill others. But I also what them to know that America is a place full of incredible human beings, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and full of inspiration and beauty. I want them to see all the reality, all the ugly and the chaos and I want them to learn how to dig deep and see the good in it. Because to be honest, that's what I'm trying to learn myself.
How do we make sure we're aware, we're informed, we're educated, we're alert to the world we live in and all its mess...BUT at the same time calm, hopeful, courageous, and in constant search of the good in this world?? How do we do that?? This is the biggest thing i'm dealing with right now as a teacher. And at the end of the day, when I shut down my computer, put my grade book away, wave goodbye to the students and teachers and ride that long bus ride home...I let the peace of Jesus wash over my tired mind and weary soul. And I let His words reach to all the places of uncertainty and inadequacy. And I sit there. Right there with Him. And I am reminded of who holds the stars and the moon. Who made the ocean and every mountain peak. Who formed the hilltops and called each creature by name. I'm reminded of the love of God that surpasses all understanding, and guides us in this chaotic world. Thank you, Jesus.