Tough week, especially for those in our old home town of Santa Cruz, CA. A little 8-year old girl named Maddy Middleton went missing, and the whole town got involved in trying to find her. She was found dead, a victim of a terrible crime, and her well-liked and trusted 15-year old neighbor was arrested for it with damning videotape and a confession as evidence. The shock and devastation for both families—and for much of the community—has been horrendous and all we’ve been able to think about for days.
How do you make sense of such a horrific tragedy? Is there any such thing as meaningless suffering? How do we come to terms with this kind of pain—our own and that of others?
One person I know, who did not know either family, has found herself screaming in agony. She described it as feeling like she tapped into the collective consciousness of the entire community—or certainly the pain of the mothers involved. I’ve been haunted by the screams of the mothers myself. Many people in Santa Cruz participated in a group howling (Maddy loved wolves) as the full moon rose last night.
Not able to sleep, all my usual tricks of no use, I finally decided to send healing to all involved, to add to the healing I know was being sent by many others. One of my teachers, Jeanine Sande, wrote on my Facebook page “Love, love, love.” Send love. And remember to be loving with your own friends and family and with yourself.
Another Santa Cruzan on my Facebook feed just a few minutes ago posted her latest gorgeous photo of the sun shining in a beautiful blue sky with blue ocean waves underneath. A typical Santa Cruz day at the beach. It made me feel joyful to see it. It is still the same beautiful place.
That’s the great paradox of the lives we live. The fact is that, right now, there is always somebody screaming in agony because their little boy or girl—their bright shining star—is gone. That has not changed, whether we hear about it or not, that’s always happening. And at the same time, somewhere, the sun will also be shining, there will be waves on the beach, and stars in the sky. And now there is one called Maddy.
We somehow are here to live it all, to find a way to find joy and meaning despite the suffering. And love—to help others and help ourselves begin again when we have to and carry on.