When I started this #journeytojoy, I wanted to emulate my recently-deceased mother-in-law, Joanna MacLaughlin. At her service, the minister remarked on how she had endured her final illness without complaint. That inspired me to want to navigate an entire year without voicing complaint.
I stumbled during that first 365 days, so I decided to blog about the experience until I eliminated complaint from my way of life. I’m still trying. Along the way, though, I have learned to identify the various ways in which I express “complaint”, distinguished from advocating for justice. Additionally, others have shared their stories and remarked upon the common human enterprise of learning to live a joyful life.
Though I try to focus on positive occurrences, some tragedies strike me as too terrible to ignore. From time to time, I have mentioned the suffering which I experience in order to also share the lessons which I take from my pain. When people for whom I care endure trauma, I comment to the extent that I want to provide comfort or commend their strength. The woes of society or political angst usually gets relegated to my occasional social and political blog, which you can find HERE. I don’t record many entries at the site because, quite frankly, it’s all just so unbearably depressing that I prefer to focus on #myjourneytojoy.
The tragedies of the last week compel me to remark that some occurrences demand protest. Call that complaint if you will, but my moral duty motivates me. I won’t debate gun control (I’m in favor of it) or whether any particular elected official properly responded to what happened in El Paso, Dayton, or even — with very little press — Chicago this weekend. I have not processed my emotions in response to what I’m reading, except for two thoughts: First, I feel incredibly lucky to be alive; and, second, I worry about my son who lives in the heart of Chicago and travels its streets and public transit every day.
I offer for your contemplation, two photographs and one absent picture. For the photographs: Pictures of the known El Paso Victims and the known Dayton victims. For the absent photograph: I could find not one composite photo of the people killed in Chicago this weekend. I found article after article talking about the many shootings there. One article even noted that so many people were injured this weekend by violence that some hospitals had to close their doors.
We must stop this violence. It is no longer sufficient to simply complain about it, assuming that complaint ever sufficed as a response to this travesty. Complaint does nothing more than “thoughts and prayers”.
We must join our voices in relenting condemnation of anyone who incites, inspires, or engages in this senseless violence. Any killing is too much. And the rivers of our nation have been stained with the blood of too many innocent victims.
It’s the fifth day of the sixty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. For me and mine, life continues.