Elizabeth Smart: A Ray of Light In a Very
Like millions, I steeled myself for
the worst as yet another "breaking news report" and the obligatory
ominous network music interrupted the afternoon monotony of television game
shows. What now? How much more had man's inhumanity to man been
redefined? And how many more lives had been cut short in the process?
Face it, we currently live under a dark cloud of constant threat, where breaking
news reports are like lightening bolts, suicide bombings roll like thunder, and
the words "war", "death" and "hatred" are an
unrelenting downpour, soaking through our every emotion. We are beginning to
forget what the "sun" looks like.
We are raw from the onslaught, yet at the same time being beaten into an ennui
of sorts. We know too much, we see too much, we fear too much. We
know we cannot have Camelot, where the rains may never fall till after
midnight, but we wish for the clouds to part, if even briefly.
Wednesday afternoon, that wish was granted, if only for one brief shining
moment. Elizabeth Smart, after nearly nine months gone missing, was
Alive and well. And while "well" shall certainly come to
be seen as a relative term, as her story of abduction unfolds, the fact that she
was found alive and returned to the love of her family made the "sun"
pour through those rainclouds. If I am feeling the warmth of hope and
prayer and experiencing the glow of all things being possible, those who have
personally lived without her presence for almost a year, must surely be in need
of SPF (soul protection factor!) and wrap around shades, as their joy threatens
to consume them.
When Elizabeth was abducted, we became riveted by every shred of news, evidence,
emotion. As a parent, how easy was it to imagine tucking in our own
children, only to awaken to the nightmare of finding an empty bed the next
morning? We cried for the Smarts, we prayed for the Smarts, we prayed for
ourselves. Yet as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into
months, society - fed by a sensationalist media - did what it does best.
We turned on the victims, desperate to place blame, answer the questions, move
on with our lives.
In our attempts to believe it could not be as simple, yet horrific as an
abduction, we allowed the media to savage the Smarts, to turn them inside out,
to defame their characters, to paint them with the brushes of avarice, greed,
sex. Their religious beliefs were ridiculed, the sleeping arrangements of
the children were suspect, and the Smarts tarred and feathered so that we could
sleep better at night.
Shame on us.
It has made me realize that we bring many of these rainclouds on ourselves.
We allow innuendo and sizzle to be portrayed as "news". The same
world weary ennui that has us becoming desensitized to war, threats and
hatred, have left us willing to watch the clouds be "salted" by
the media in order for the rains to continue. A sad contradiction when the
sun is what we truly want to experience.
I believe the Smarts have shown incredible grace and focus, despite their
personal lives being turned into Enquirer magazine headlines. And as they
rejoice in Elizabeth's return to their lives, and begin what will surely be a
painstaking, grueling journey to heal the devastation they have endured, that
same grace will allow them to see past the same Enquirer once again using them
for headline making profits.
In our hearts, we know the clouds will again fill in our skies, and the rains
will continue to dampen our spirits. Our world is in peril, but we have
now been given a glimpse of the power of faith, hope and love.
Today the headlines are led not by death, but by life. And like the
millions who have been living under the dark clouds, I will turn my face to the
Heavens and rejoice in the light of this one, brief shining moment.
For if one is possible, how many more are waiting to break through?
Welcome home Elizabeth
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