Where were you when ______ occurred?
Every once in a great while, events unfold that are so shocking we drop whatever we’re doing to get the latest information. An entire country, perhaps much of the world, is impacted. We can’t talk or think about much of anything else.
This week we recall the horrors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In a couple of months the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination will be observed. In recent decades we’ve also grappled with the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle explosions. The Oklahoma City bombing. Columbine and Newtown. John Lennon’s assassination, followed within months by the near-assassinations of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.
Whether it’s an accident, deliberate act of violence or natural disaster, our reactions are similar. We feel more fragile, perhaps fearing that something equally or more awful is just around the corner — something that could directly affect us or our loved ones.
We also find ourselves more compelled to be kinder to each other, even strangers. Our grudges become softer. We count our blessings. We hold special church services. Regular attendance at church increases. We ask what we can do to help.
It’s heartwarming to see these reactions, a showcase of the human spirit at its finest. But will we recede to our comfort zones once the memory and threat of danger and disaster have subsided? That’s the challenge for me — trying to be Christ-like every day without necessarily being shocked into it.