A few weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl named Guadalupe Galeno-Hernandez was shot at 34th & Chicago in South Minneapolis. Guadalupe survived the shooting but is likely paralyzed from the waist down.
I pass through this intersection on a virtually daily basis. It’s on my path to 35W, the highway that takes me almost everywhere I need to go. I was safe at home when this act of terrible violence took place. I had no idea it happened for several days. Now, when I drive past the site of the crime, there is no evidence I can see. Just a “normal” house.
How strange–thanks to Facebook, I know where my friend in D.C. went shopping on the weekend, or what my brother-in-law in Massachusetts made for dinner. But I was clueless about the goings on a few blocks from my home. Incidentally, I heard about the shooting via Facebook… an organization I follow wrote about it in a status update.
I have no idea what to make of all this. I feel like something is broken, but I have no idea what it would take to fix it. I’ve always appreciated the saying, “There, but for the grace of God go I.” I don’t think that I’m a special recipient of God’s grace because (thus far) I haven’t experienced that kind of violence. I don’t deserve safety and happiness anymore than Guadalupe.
Or, to put it another way, I can only believe that all human beings deserve safety and happiness. Sometimes I feel like I squander the grace I’ve received. Like any person, I don’t always value everything I have. I complain. I’m bitter sometimes, and angry.
But here is Thanksgiving, thank God. Even in the midst of all the hubbub, it is a day that invites me to count my blessings and to wish blessings on others. I’m keeping Guadalupe and her family in my prayers.
It’s a good thing to practice thanksgiving, intentionally, now and again. Instead of puffing us up, I hope it actually keeps us humble.
As clichéd as it is, I am filled with gratitude–not to mention a sense of sadness and mystery. I can deal with that.
I wish a safe and peaceful holiday for you and yours.