It is bad taste to demand that someone move from one grief only to focus on your primary grief.
I’ve seen this happening quite a bit this last week.
The world is grieving for what happened in Paris and unbelievably cries are heard, ‘Don’t forget Nigeria’, ‘Don’t forget Syria’, ‘Don’t forget (insert your favourite zeal)’
It is bad taste because in demanding attention there is no attention given.
The one calling us to remember another place and people appears to be operating out of fear, cannot stop long enough to grieve the latest, and somehow hates that attention is elsewhere for at time.
Let’s think of this in a smaller scale.
“I have lost my grandmother today.”
“Well, Nigeria lost 100 grandmothers today.”
“My arm is broken.”
“Well, my husband broke his back.”
“A town in Europe lost half it’s homes in a flood.”
“Well, Syria has been bombed to bits.”
When did we start playing the game of ‘there is tragedy worse than yours’?
When did we begin one-upping each other with trauma worse than?
This is the game of children. It is the game of ‘my tragedy is better than yours.’ Ridiculous.
We must attend to all these things. Whenever tragedy strikes, no matter a broken arm or a bombed out city, the death of one or the death of one-hundred, we stop, we listen, we pause, we attend, we grieve alongside and we say, “This never should have happened, I am so sorry.”
Period. We don’t add any ‘but…’. We don’t infer that another’s loss is more important. We don’t guilt people away from much needed grieving and processing of loss. To do so does not build healthy community, it breaks it down, it interferes with what is healthy and right.
Every time there is trauma and tragedy we stop, we turn to what is current, we enter into the pain, we help to carry the weight of all that has gone wrong. We become part of the solution in any small way we can – simple grieving does this.
To do any less, to rush us past the trauma, to distract us away to another problem, is to disrespect and add harm upon harm. It is insensitive and immature. Be decent enough to stop, to really stop. Get the litany of other wrongs out of your head for one moment, and enter into the pain of today.
Your presence is part of the healing process. We need you to join us. Don’t turn away. And don’t shame us into turning away either.