Comfort is not in Need of Noise!


There are simply too many homes today where the light has been prematurely extinguished; where the bright eyes of innocence have settled softly before their time; where the scurrying feet of laughter is hushed in the silent pain of dying mothers and fathers. And we have nothing with which to console their loss, but for the insufficient sorrow spilling from the pain of our own hearts.

In the weeks which follow this heart rending tragedy, the question will be asked, it will be begged from us, knowing that we haven’t the answer. What is wrong with this country? Hypothetical’s, opinions and conjecture will fill our evening news, but, the discussions will wane in time, unanswered. As today fades into enough tomorrows, today’s tragedy will fade like an evening sun looking for the horizon .

Discussions on gun control, diminishing social services to the mentally handicapped, violence on television, video games, a seemingly escalating, angry, America and accusations of a Godless people will all compete for fault. The answers will beg continued loyalty from their respective legions and argument will decorate an already angry America.

This isn’t the time for argument, for rage and anger, for raising the banner of fault or for an emotionally charged country to engage in retaliatory remedy. It is time to turn our attention to reflection, to collective grieving; to stillness in the absence of candlelight extinguished by an angry wind. It is time to let our collective spirit surrender alongside the mounting anguish of disconsolate parents trying to reconcile life’s unanswerable question; why?

Today, an American media is their enemy, an unwarranted intruder invading the invisible collapse of lives, which a few days ago, were comprehensible. In the weeks that follow, the media will ask relentlessly for our complicity, for our anger and for our patronage. We will either accompany their theatrics or we will quiet our hearts and still the angry wind. We will either fill our collective heart with a complicit anger or, we will make effort to grieve together and leave questions for another day.

Today, there are the inconsolable hearts of parents living between the poles that cradle life and loss. Fault will not ease their pain today nor remedy the unanswerable why that comes to claim its place in the dying heart.

Today, those hearts are in need of more from us than argument and disagreement; they are in need of solitude, of space, of stepping back and being still. They are in need of time to grieve, to cry, to break and to resolve. It isn't that anger dose not have a place, but, it needs to wait its turn. Today isn't about us or politics or causes. It is about lives running out of tears. Perhaps we can share our tears with them for just a while. Today is for listening to the dying of a heart. Its only cause today, to find a way to live another day.

Comments 18 comments

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

I'm humbled, even chastised, by this plea to simply respect the grieving and send them our love and support. I've been doing that, but, even so - have been also feeling & expressing my mounting awareness, - no, conviction - that it's a reaping of what's been sowed, 1st, by media & advertising promoting & tolerating violence as a way of coping (and selling their products), & then, by public oblivion to that campaign to make it the 'norm', especially by parents of little folks being distorted by those messages almost as a daily technological diet.

But you are absolutely right. The personal grief and loss of the victims is ALL that matters in the wake of this, another tragic, senseless outburst of someone's frustration and anger whose acceptance that it's OK to senselessly vent it at other people; --- even such young little people and honorable adults as these victims and their families.

Retaliating in kind, even just in words, especially now while the anguish is so palatable, is just as poor an example of how to deal with my own anger and frustration at the growing trend, though words may be at a less devastating level. But the personal trend has to start somewhere; & probably never at the extreme, rather just gradually getting 'used to' lashing out. Letting one's own candle go out is no way to turn the trend around and live a better example.

I have lived through experiences which could have turned me into a clone of the aggressor, without succumbing. I've even been criticized for not becoming aggressive in response, for being too passive. But I knew the values I was demonstrating, and never regretted having done so. Now this asks of me the same kind of fortitude and courage. Now is not the time for 'noise', but just a time for offering solace and silence to those who mourn.

So thank you, dear Alan. Your heart is right.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

You have, in my opinion, hit upon many valuable points.Thank you. And therein lies the challenge... Many.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 3 years ago

this is beautifully written...and i so agree that the media is the enemy...promoting violence in all it's 'glory'...

And as much as i enjoyed reading this - i must add that i disagree that this is not the time for action - and anger! If not now - then when? It is in times of turmoil and war that real change is done - i see no reason not to raise a hue and cry over the madness, the frequency, the ease - as well as offering heart-felt sympathy and prayers to the poor, damaged survivors! i am both heart-sick AND angry - and i think that's a good combination - not a bad..

with all due respect, myfriend..

also: one of the children - ana marquez-green - just moved to newtown from winnipeg, canada - my town - in july..her older brother was also in the school, but he survived..(physically, that is...)...they lived about 3 miles from me..


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello dearest butterfly. Thank you for your thoughful and heartfelt comment. I suspect our age has confronted us with experiences enough to warrant a righteous anger. I would like to at least see these families put to rest their children before being confronted with the barrage of blame to wade through. I wonder of the torturous onslaught of reporters, television interviews, activist and questions raining down on families simply trying to grieve. I can't imagine the intrusion of so many on so few at so personal a time. My anger is to overcome in sadness to entertain the many reasons which would steal moments better left to quiet. In the weeks which follow, grief will give way to anger and cries for resolution. I pray that America will rise from the silence and begin to examine the many things complicit in this insidious insanity. I hope that we will consider "all the things which contribute to this madness" and not simply react to a single cause. Be well my very special friend. Without you, my hope for reason in the world, diminishes.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Martin. It is always good to hear from you. It will always be a challenge. Anger has a way of seeing right and wrong with one eye open and one eye closed. I have always found half right more dangerous than all right.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Leslie! I simply adhere to a civility, a graciousness and a reverence that allows the broken hearted to bury their dead before subjecting them to analysis. It isn't that I am not angry, it is that I am aware that my anger will not aid those families in these first days. Debate will not comfort them, discussing blame and fault will simply prolong the grief and they endure already more than is bearable. I will have anger enough in a few weeks to address the madness of today. I admire your heart, your activism, your passion and your keen mind. Although I respect the reason which launches your immediate call to action, I will wait until anger does not rule my heart, until my mind catches up with my emotions. I do not trust the one without the other.

BTW, the ability and honesty to disagree in mutual admiration, is a road to an authentic friendship.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Yes, Alan - that is so much more compassionate a perspective than seems to rush to the forefront of otherwise, surely well-meaning folks in response to such an atrocious act of violence. Allowing our real sympathy to go out quietly to those devastated families so intimately involved, while subduing our own indignation for another time & more sane looks at the deep underlying problems, is as you say, what they most need, especially during their most difficult days and hours. They need us to perceive their feelings & offer our compassion

It's prime time for "do unto others as we want done unto us."

You're so right - it's impossible to imagine what they're going through, - all of iti - but there they are, giving each other what they need from everyone. Surely they must have to have become immune to invasive media attention and all that furore.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Good Evening Alan - This is a time for quiet reflection, prayer, concern, empathy for all these families whose lives were suddenly and brutally shattered. They need time; they do not need to be subjected to the media or the press of political groups, important though their agendas may be.

I will take action in writing, try to mobilize friends and family, hope that this terrible, terrible event will lead to leagle chnages but now is not the time. I have collected information and laid it aside for a later time. As you said, dysfunction and fault abounds in American society, a single effort will not be enough. But in time it can be a beginning.

Thank you for a profoundly moving essay calling us to quiet, respect for the families and civility. Theresa


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Oh Alan--you make us all think and return to our hearts--I just wish this was under other circumstances


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

A beautifully written and thought-provoking hub, Alan. The citizens of Newtown have shown such grace in the wake of this tragedy. Their streets were filled with media vans, lights and cameras. It is what happens when everyone leaves. Not just the reporters - some have shown dignity and understanding while others have not -- but relatives and friends who live further away. The grief they must endure is unimaginable to me. Assigning blame on the heels of this horrific event will not abate their grief. I agree with you in that I hope a civil conversation ensues when the timing is right, and changes are made that will help ensure this does not happen again. I also hope that the changes needed and necessary actions do not disappear into the horizon along with the television cameras. Voted up and much more.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

This Christmas, and maybe every Christmas hereafter in Newtown and perhaps across the land will be colored by this terrible event. I grieve for and with the families of the innocents. Yet, I am certain there is is anger in more than one of those Newtown homes as well. I admire what you have written and the spirit behind it, but I will continue to urge my representatives and the President to take some action, to find a way to prevent this horror from ever being repeated.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Theresa, Hope you had a wonderful holiday. I have gone quietly about my protest, testing the proverbial waters in strangely civil discussions. I've concluded that very little has changed and that it will take much more than the past madness to change the insane mindset which prevails in this country. There might even be a ban on assault rifles for a while, but, with 3 and 1/2 million already out there, not much difference will come of it. This country has not been shamed enough as of yet.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Audrey. Thanks for reading. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday. Thinking would be a welcomed change. We react and then we think. A natural, however, clumbsy effort which brings little change. I fear this country is too emotionally charged to change course. It does not dismiss the need to try, but, more thinking and civility would go further than anger and stubborness.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Genna and thank you for the comment. I fear the worse still lies ahead. This country is divided into teams and discussion is a circular argument entrenched with sound bytes and regurgitated slogans. I fear it will take much more insanity to shake us from our ignorance. We will get some token legislation to satisfy our temporary appetite and resume the madness.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Jim. Hope you both had a wondrous holiday. Grieving falls in stages. Shock - pain and guilt - anger - depression and then the stages of recovery. The first two are in need of quiet and comfort. The third in need of voice and resolution. We near the time of voice and resolution, although, I've little hope that any significant change will ensue. There is a stubborness entrenched in this country that nears insanity and reason will not shake it from its cemented footing. I fear the madness will continue as assault rifle sales and ammunition sales escalate at all time highs. 3 1/2 million assault rifles already in the hands of lunatics. They can ban them, but, what about the ones already out there? Our anger will not change the minds of the American people. Unfortunately, we have not yet, been shamed enough.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

What would it take, I wonder, if this tragedy won't do it? I am afraid you are right Alan.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hey Jim! I think we will be thrown a bone, something to diffuse our anger. It will look like a step in the right direction, but, it will remedy nothing. We are years and many catastrophies away from taking any significant action. This is a paranoid culture which is spoon fed daily from media sources intent on manpulating our emotions to further personal agendas. The sky is always falling, the end is always comming and the masses are always preparing. This circular madness maintains a status quo. Change is the enemy we fear most.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Took a moment to read this again Alan, and to cry again for all their losses and irreparably wounded hearts. Your words both open the wound and help to close it -- which is as it should be. They should be read and considered often whether a large tragedy is near or far in time.

We, I, have misses you dreadfully. Hoping that soon you will have time and energy and most important -- the desire to grace us with your words, wisdom and poetry. Many, many blessings. Theresa

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