Franz Kafka tells the story of a little girl who was late arriving home one day. Her mother asked her where she was. The girl said that she saw her friend Ruthie on her way home, and Ruthie’s doll had broken.
“Did you help her fix it?” her mother asked. “No,” the girl replied, “I don’t know how to fix it. I stopped to help her cry.”
As we hear the news about the horrific school shooting in Connecticut, we can sympathize with Kafka’s little girl. We do not know how to fix, or even explain, the evil that causes a person to shoot innocent young children. We stand in shock, in pain, in bewildernment.
We turn to one another and ask “What can we do? How can we bring God’s healing presence into this moment?”
Collecting the Pieces
Perhaps we can take some guidance from the words of the 18th century Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. He once saw a man whose house had burnt down. The man had been crying terribly about his losses.
As he began looking through the rubble, he found bits and pieces of wood and metal to start rebuilding. One by one he made a pile of pieces.
Rabbi Nathan said, “See how he is collecting pieces to rebuild. Even when we think there is no hope, we are already collecting pieces to rebuild.”
It will take a long time to collect the pieces we need to rebuild. With open hearts and ready hands, we need to start now.