Thursday, August 30, 2007


In this morning’s Washington’s Post on the front page we find a story about Cho.

“The panel appointed by the governor to investigate the massacre at Virginia Tech is critical of the university's response to the shootings and its treatment of Seuing Hui Cho, concluding that lives could have been saved if officials had issued an alert sooner that a gunman was on campus. The eight-member panel also found that Cho went to the campus counseling center after he was ordered to do so by a judge in 2005 but that the center failed to treat Cho. The panel's report, which was posted online late last night, also says the center was passive in its follow-up and is missing important records about Cho's visit and telephone conversations with counselors. But the report reaches no conclusions about what many people are wondering: What Cho's motives were for the rampage April 16 and what triggered him”

I was tempted to write another blog about the matter. However, I decided enough has been said and I really had nothing to add. The truth is I don’t know anything and from reading their conclusions neither do they.

Getting inside someone’s head and heart after they have done an evil act and are dead is an impossible task. Placing blame on others who may or may not have acted as they should before the act took place is not real productive since no one can really determine what was going on with the person at the time of the act.

The only thing we know for sure is that it was a horrifying event that has resulted in pain and anguish for so many and the unexplainable loss of life. For that the entire country feels like it has been attacked. In a way we have. Each act of evil we encounter casts a dark shadow on our souls.

I have been thinking about recovery a lot lately. The recovery from a trauma like the massacre. Recovery from an auto accident like Patty and I just had. Recovery from childhood sexual abuse. The recovery path everyone with a mental illness must take. I am not saying all of these traumas are equal, but all traumas must be recovered from. What are the keys to recovery?

First, one must find a safe harbor. You can’t begin the recovery process if you feel like a ship caught in a hurricane. Part of that safe harbor is food and housing, but it is also being in a place where you are not afraid of further violence or abuse. Few people have been able to begin their recovery journey while living on the streets or still in the home of their abuser.

Second, one must learn to dream again. By this I mean to have a dream that they are working towards. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t have a destination. The person needs to decide the destination and then folks can help them reach their dream. We have all needed help and need help each day. As the old saying goes no one is an island.

Third, one must have hope. Where does hope come from? Being a Christian I can only give you a Christian answer. My hope comes from the Spirit of the Creator that lives in my soul. I work so hard to get faith communities to reach out to those in recovery because not only do they offer an natural community to belong to, but they hold one of the big keys. The key of hope that comes into one’s heart when they know they are loved by the Creator of the whole universe.

Stigma, the big enemy of recovery, can beat you into the ground, but if you know you are loved by the Maker of the world then your heart and soul will fill with the hope it takes to dream again and walk towards the destination you have decided on.

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