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  • Thomas Bien

Wonders and Terrors

I am writing this within a few days of the latest mass shooting—this one in San Bernardino, California, with 14 dead, and more wounded.

It is difficult to grasp these events—easier to try to keep them at a distance. But some people went to an office party and were never to be seen alive again. Many others had their lives permanently changed. Some of these come under the innocent enough sounding term, “wounded,” which masks sometimes traumatic and permanent changes in one’s physical being. Others have lost friends, parents, children, neighbors, co-workers. All of us have lost some sense of living in a safe and reliable world.

It would be obscene to try to make sense of this. That would be to make sense of what is senseless. But perhaps we can find a way to relate to these events.

The reality is that life is always so. At any moment, anything can happen. Life can change in an instant. Wonders and terrors abound every day.

This human life we have is enormously precious, delicate, and fleeting. But rather than despair, we can choose to remember how valuable each day is, and what an incredible miracle each person is. We can love more, appreciate more, be more deeply and fully alive and mindful.

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