I remember meeting a man who used to play professional sports. Even though he was only in his thirties he walked with a pronounced limp and was in pain constantly. What had occurred for him was this; he was playing in an important game one day and while playing he was injured. His team needed him in the game, so while briefly sidelined they medicated him and put him back on the field. For the rest of the game he played well, but after a short period of time he discovered he no longer had full use of his leg. The painkiller he had been given had masked the injury and by continuing using that limb, that his body had let him know was injured, he had done irreparable damage and now could no longer walk let alone play. Life leaves clues. The pain he experienced was a symptom, it was a clue that he needed to do something else. His body had told him STOP! technology allowed him to continue by masking the pain and in so doing he affected a greater injury.
In light of the horrific event that occurred in Newtown Conn. Friday President Obama said, “Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days. And if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough and we will have to change.”
I trust that the change he is speaking of goes deeper than merely masking the issue, as we have done many times in the past. Newtown is a symptom of something deeper that we have to look at, it is not in itself a cause. We need to review our approach to mental illness, we need to review our values as a people, we need to reinvent how we connect with each other, we need to instill in our children a sense of connection and value and we need to strengthen and develop our connection with each other. There is something amiss in our world today. There is a disconnection that we have never experienced before. It demands that we find ways to address it. I remember a politician once saying that the world is faced with a brand new set of problems and that we are going to address them in the same way we always have. I didn’t vote for him. The world is definitely faced with a brand new set of problems, and we need to find some brand new solutions. It’s time.
Life leaves clues.