Another unbelievable tragedy, just days before Thanksgiving.  A driver in Waukesha smashed his vehicle into a crowd this past weekend at a holiday parade, killing six people and injuring well over 40.

Why?  We all want to know why.  Did the gas pedal get stuck?  I do not think so.  Mental illness?  Was he on drugs? Did he get “a message” from God?  Was it retribution for something else?  I believe I know why the SUV driver did it.  Not the exact particulars, but the general idea.  He snapped. He did something violent and unthinkable for reasons maybe only he understands.

Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash

No doubt it was a series of many interactions in his world that ended badly.  Isolation, disconnection, with all sorts of trauma thrown in. I do not want to read about his past.  Relationships dashed and smashed.  Conversations that did not go well.  Feeling like a victim in his world.  Maybe addiction, mental illness, abuse.  But the essence of what happened to this man, what he allowed to take shape in him, and on some level maybe what the world around him allowed—is a primal disconnection from the social fabric of healthy family and community.

And that social fabric is built one relationship, one conversation at a time.

So, this Thanksgiving give thanks for your blessings, yes.  And go beyond that.  Give thanks for those in who vote differently that you do, who are from another economic background, ethnicity or culture.  For those who do things you don’t understand.  Find a blessing in the one who irritates you.  How about those who have different ideas about preventing the spread of Covid-19?  Can you give thanks, engage them and stay in relationship with them?  Maybe at least 6’ apart with a mask on but stay connected.

I find more success if I can drop the judgment.  I have some family members who regularly vote differently that I do.  And one who has different ideas about vaccination than I do.  They are not idiots. They are not evil.  They are my people.  With sometimes very different values and fears.  And it is my task to attempt to understand, love and accept them as they are.  And remember they may be, in moments, as irritated by me as I am by them.  Stay in relationship my friends.  Do all you can to keep the conversations open and the bridges intact.

If there is enough trust and respect, we can challenge each other and ask questions about why we do what we do.  But not if it burns our bridges of connection.

Our world, our American culture, is in a very serious situation on multiple levels.  What is required of each of us is not easy.  It takes prayer and discipline, and skillful conversations.  I am highly committed to having them everywhere I go, and to coaching and training others to do the same.  If you need support.  Just reach out.

Sending out many blessings to you all, especially on our brothers and sisters in Waukesha directly impacted by this sad event.