Forgiveness and Healing?..Not just YeT

Within hours of the massacre of more than 30 people at Virginia Tech University, the president of the university issued his first statement on the evil that had just engulfed the college campus and concluded with this:

“We’re making plans for a convocation tomorrow at noon in Cassell Coliseum for the university to come together to begin the healing process from this terrible tragedy.”

You’re Dead, I’m Healing

I believe that this early healing talk is both foolish and immoral.

It is foolish because one does not speak about healing the same day (or week or perhaps even month) that one is traumatized — especially by evil. One must be allowed time for anger and grief. To speak of healing and “closure” before one goes through those other emotions is to speak not of healing but of suppression.

Not to allow people time to experience their natural, and noble, instincts to feel rage and grief actually deprives them of the ability to heal in the long run. After all, if there is no rage and grief, what is there to heal from?

The Jewish tradition, still observed even by non-Orthodox Jews, is to sit “shiva” (seven) days and do nothing but mourn and receive visitors after the death of an immediate relative. One does not have to be a religious Jew or even a Jew to appreciate this ancient wisdom.

Personally, I don’t want to heal now. I want to feel rage at the monster who slaughtered all those young innocent people at Virginia Tech. And I want to grieve over those innocents’ deaths.

This whole notion of instant healing (like its twin, instant forgiveness) is also morally wrong.
First, it is narcissistic. It focuses on me and my pain, not on the murderer and the murdered.
And why is it always referred to as a “tragedy”? Virginia Tech wasn’t hit by a cyclone. That would be a tragedy. This was evil. Call it that.

Anger is anger.

Anger, my friends, is a natural and indispensable emotion.

It is not right nor wrong; it is not healthy nor unhealthy.
It is how anger is expressed that makes it healthy or unhealthy.

Feeling anger is poles apart from expressing anger.

Healthy anger is not violent.

It isn’t used to intimidate, control, manipulate or punish another human being.

But what it can be ..is.. expressed, talked and moved through.
Healthy anger is not stuffed down or overlooked either.

By repressing feelings and “stuffing them down”, it becomes out of the question to eventually work through feelings or ever move past them.


“Personally, I don’t want to heal now. I want to feel rage at the monster who slaughtered all those young innocent people at Virginia Tech. And I want to grieve over those innocents’ deaths.”

………More than fair enough.


Photos: courtesy AP.

Dearest Families and Friends of the wounded and taken.
I wish there was something I could do to to console, comfort, soothe, provide solace, or allay your unending sorrow or grief.

I know they’re only words, but words are all I have to try to take some of your heartache away.

May your beautiful memories of them, and their personal strengths and special qualities be a source of comfort to you all.

I will hold you all dearly in my thoughts and prayers.

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34 Responses to “Forgiveness and Healing?..Not just YeT”

  1. george samek US Army, Retiredg says:

    The administration at now wishing to rush on to “Heal”, after all those who now talk of gun control have there moment in the sun, the grief and shock will ware off,.. and the parents will question decisions made after the first murders… The decision was made not to lock down the school ,…due to concerns of discomfort for the student,… and related problems for the administration…They errored on the wrong side of sound judgement, …for this the students underwent death,.. and personal injury…Let the lawsuits begin,.. right along with the healing. The teachers who gave there lives for there students will live on in the hearts of the students long after they have forgoten the name of the school president ,…and his staff,..God bless these fine teachers.

  2. Jungle Mom says:

    Righteous anger. I have not recovered or HEALED from some bad experiences myself. They happened years ago. These things effect you for the rest of your life.

  3. Always On Watch says:

    Angel,
    After all those hours of being cut off from the world because of the power outage here, I get back in touch to hear about quick healing. That’s an unnatural idea.

  4. KKarLLmM says:

    Why are we all so afraid of FEELING…that is what is needed now, to stop a long moment and grasp what has just happened and what IS happening all over the globe.
    Evil in every form continues to strike at the people who embrace life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a virtue and an ideal. With the blessing of GOD we will never give in to those who insist on violence and mayhem as a way of life.
    May the spirit on calm blanket those in their deepest moments of hurt and pain…

  5. OMMAG says:

    Now Now Angel you know it’s Not Nice to show anger!
    Might upset some delicate soul and we could not have that.

    Since the MSM is all over this story and using it every possible way to promote their self serving agenda, maybe it’s an appropriate time for all decent folks to direct their anger at these vultures who insist on picking over the exposed wounds!

  6. Mike's America says:

    You’re right to point out that healing comes in steps and we shouldn’t shortcut them. I guess I’ll give those stressing healing a pass on this one though as they are really starting the process.

    What I found repugnant was the instant politicization of this evil event by the anti gun crowd. As if a ban on guns would have stopped this kid.

    In my post on the subject I point out that Virginia Tech has an anti-gun policy which was being strictly enforced only recently against a student who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    Even if the state and the nation banned all guns, people could still get them if they wanted to break the law and a monster like this could just as easily make a bomb or some other evil device.

    Evil doesn’t stop because you pass a law.

    Plenty of time to discuss all this. But now is a time to mourn, grieve and eventually begin healing.

  7. Angel says:

    Thanks so much y’alls for sharing this with me and the rest of us.

  8. Gayle says:

    You are a wise woman, Angel, and this is a beautiful post.

    My prayers for those in mourning are always for God to help people deal with their grief, and in cases like this, their anger too. But it does have to run it’s course and that’s as it should be. All things in good time, but Americans have lost touch with that. Shame.

  9. Terry_Jim says:

    Would that the University President had said,
    “Thank you, members of the news media , for your concern.
    Now, please, get the dozens of satellite trucks off this campus and leave my students and faculty alone to grieve. When we have something to say to you we will let you know, until then get your cameras and microphones out of our face.”

    Prager nails it. This wasn’t a tragedy, it was murder, it was evil.

    It isn’t the time to inject one’s political opinions about guns(too many or too few) mental health care, American culture, or global warming into this, as many have done.
    I am saddened for the families of the victims, angered at the killer, and fed up with the press.

  10. Layla says:

    Oh Angel people just do not know how to act. They say stupid things meaning well. They talk about healing because instinctively we all know we must go on – we have to go one – we have no choice unless we become like the lost and put a gun to our own heads. I understand what you say and to a point agree, but I have been on both sides of this coin in my own life and I wish neither side on anyone.

    God bless my mother, but eleven years ago when my autistic eight year old son snuck out of the house and was struck down by a drunk driver three days before Christmas, that night, I asked my mom while on the phone with her while I was at the hospital, not to tell the other kids, I wanted to–she said okay, but meaning well, did the oposite, When I came home my family room was nothing but a flood of tears from my kids. When some friends and neighbors came to see what they could do, my mom again meaning well sat at the diningroom table and said adleast my son was not shot! I think my girlfriend wanted to slap her but didn’t out of respect for me. But I knew my mom was trying , and poorly, to comfort me and put something positive out there. Though that was not what I would of done. Here is two more instances. At the funeral, my Aunt came up to me and told me I was being rude that I should go and greet all the people that came. Later in the day, there was a gathering at my house and again my aunt came up to me, but this time telling me I should be serving the guests, not sitting down. Duh? But I got over it. I learned people do not know what to say or do so they make up things, say dumb things, but at the end of the day I had to forgive and realize they meant well, even when they hurt my feelings.

    It is about forgiveness and healing, not today, but in the near future. It is also about not judging a thing before it is finished. I know.

  11. Terry_Jim says:

    “as many have done.”
    I didn’t mean here in the above comments.-
    Thought I should explain that, lest I accidently step on toes.

    The first stories on the shootings I read were from Drudge-linked
    UK Daily Mail articles, many of them read as editorials not news reports, full of smug self-righteous, anti American bias .
    Now is not the time for that.

  12. Brian Bonner says:

    I guess 7 years as a ghetto medic in NYC has dulled my senses, I just don’t feel it. what I do know is when we create gun free zones any idiot can pull this off. Sadly every opportunity to learn from these horrors, is lost to anti-gun stupidity.

    STOP, now think about what I said, no law would stop this, but armed teachers and adult students would have stopped it; that is a fact.

    Sorry, i have seen too much senseless violence and heard too much senseless ranting, by those that have no clue.

  13. Perri Nelson says:

    It was truly evil. It was also a tragedy.

    The left is incapable of recognizing evil. Moral relativism denies the possibility of good and evil. Those are value judgments, and it’s not good to judge the actions of others without understanding their motives.

    The left is very capable of recognizing tragedy, especially personal tragedy. This is why they turn to therapy based solutions to things that we see as evil. Often this goes so far as to find and make excuses for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes.

    Under some circumstances their approach is correct. Many people do need “healing” after this type of event. Especially people whose world view is rooted in feelings.

    Myself, I want to see the evil doers removed from where they can work their evil upon society. Evil people do exist, and nothing short of the last trumpet will stop them from trying to do harm to others.

    The biggest problem I have with the entire incident is the way it has been covered. The way the left has jumped on this as an opportunity to blame the implements of evil rather than the doer of evil for this crime.

    I have no problem with the attempts to start the healing process. It may be too early for some, but for others it’s already far too late. Already there have been “copycat” attempts. Evil has a way of inspiring evil.

    In this particular case, the evil doer has been removed from life itself. That doesn’t help the families of the victims, and it doesn’t help the wounded, but it does prevent the tragedy from growing. At least this instance of the evil that brought about the tragedy.

    There will be a final judgment and reckoning for this act of evil though. But those without faith, and those who reject faith because it interferes with their chosen lifestyles won’t accept it. Unable to recognize what is to come, they need their closure as soon as it can come.

    I don’t blame them for wanting the healing to begin.

  14. The HILL Chronicles » Blog Archive » The tragedies everyday in peoples lives says:

    [...] I would like to talk about the tragedies in peoples lives that are not much spoken about unless they are high profile, as in yesterdays massacre. The tragedies we never hear about – my own tragedy that for years I have not spoken about very often until today. Angel at Woman Honor Thyself wrote a very interesting and enlightening post, Forgiveness and Healing?..Not just YeT. [...]

  15. No Apology says:

    Angel, you’re absolutely right. Dennis Prager on TalkRadio today was talking about just that. And the fact that MSM shouldn’t report the event at 32 dead. No, there were 31 murders, and the shooter is also dead. They want to equate all the deaths, and that’s not right. Anger will also make it more difficult for the Brady bill bunch to start crowing, as the NYT, predictably did today about the “all too easily available guns.” Crap, more guns in responsible citizens’ hands will make the world a much safer place to live. I remember way back when hijacking planes was just coming into vogue, a friend of mine said: ” Oh, that’s easy to fix…just hand out 38′s to all boarding passengers, and relieve them of the weapons upon leaving the plane”. There won’t be any more hijackings.” SCENARIO: “We’re taking this plane to CUBA, VIVA CUBA!” The next sound is 150 guns being cocked. Ah, I don’t think so. LOL.

  16. michael says:

    To everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under the heaven:

    A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

    Ecclesiastes, 3:1,4

    Maybe it’s cliche, but it’s still true.
    Good post Angel. I think we all understand.

  17. Martin says:

    I thought it was a little rushed too. At least wait a week before the convocation. There is a reason why so many traditions call for at least 7 days of dedicated mourning. As for the president, he’s a good guy, but I’m not sure that the security presence made anything easier for those wishing to attend. On the other hand, I’m sure the ACLU was hopping mad about his and others’ references to God and faith. Larry King however wins my award for the most insensitive questions asked of victims and their families; what an out-of-touch “oblivion”.

  18. Blogbat says:

    PLANET MORONIA: Larry King & Virginia Tech…

    CNN’s King seems to need a lesson in sensitivity     Larry King appears to have won (so far) the award for most insensitive question asked by a news host of a victim or friend or relative of a……

  19. ZionistYoungster says:

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” – King David, twenty-third psalm.

  20. Angel says:

    Thank u friends..you are all a blessing and a comfort. :)

  21. Debbie says:

    Anger is just one step in the healing process, it MUST not be skipped over. I personally believe that the service held yesterday, just one day after the shooting, was too soon. Perhaps I’m wrong.

  22. cube says:

    Good post. Me, I’m still angry over events like 9/11 and I don’t expect it to ever leave me, so I agree with you. My husband & I were raging over the VTech murders yesterday… the evil little *ucker!

    It also angers me to hear calls for gun bans. Guns don’t kill people. Crazy evil people kill people.

    Had there been one more armed person on that campus, they might’ve been able to take Cho out sooner.

  23. John Kaiser says:

    I, for one, am sick of hearing all this sympathy expressed for the gunman. Victim of society my a**. This guy was psycho scum.

  24. Gayle says:

    I don’t think Debbie is wrong. I also believe the service was held far to soon. Many of those students are still in shock. The absolute reality and finality of all this hasn’t hit them yet. It’s like, “let’s hurry up and get this over with so we can get back to normal.” They aren’t being given the time to grieve and you hit that nail exactly on it’s head, Angel.

  25. nanc says:

    healing is a personal issue and is too often a word overused – it has been just over four years since my own sister died and i sometimes still feel myself picking at the scab from that wound – no full healing yet.

    it’s much like the word “closure” – what the hell is that supposed to mean?

  26. David says:

    Good post as always, though I will take exception to “Healthy anger is not violent.”

    If violence is called for, as in “the bastard is shooting people! Let’s get him!” righteous anger resulting in the speedy demise of a rampaging murderer before he kills wounds and dozens of people, then it IS healthy. In fact, think of the health of numbers of folks that could have been well-served had a few students not just stood around or hid or run away but gotten well and truly P.Oed and taken the bastard out with chairs and fists and any darned thing necessary and handy.

    Yeh, some would have gotten shot, but fro the one report I could stomach watching, the guy was using .22s. Heck, the AR-15 (civilian version of the M16) uses slightly larger .223 pellets and guys back from Iraq can tell you how many shots from one of those it can take to down an enraged muj. Many. In fact, no few boots on the ground are carrying their own .45s now (because the even larger than AR-15 pellets in the 9mm sidearm don’t put adrenalin-junked enemies down very well).

    An angry attacker on the guy woudn’t have gone down easily from his .22 pellets, absent a very lucky “golden shot” for the murdering bastard.

    Did anyone get truly P.Oed and fight back? Not that I’ve heard so far (although the tale of the Israeli professor who blockaded his classroom door with his body is a tale of a different sort of heroism), but then I’ve been mostly avoiding the parade of ghouls who’ve descended upon VaTech…

    And do chew on this one for a while: a well-armed populace would be able to protect itself from such as this creep. Sure, one or two could be taken by surprise, but in a room or building full of well-armed citizens, such a guy wouldn’t have lasted long. Imagine Robert heinlein’s posited ultra polite society where every citizen was required to wear a loaded sidearm… Creeps and goons and evil bastards would have to look over their shoulders all the time, always fearing that some lil ole granny would pull out her 1911 Colt .45 and blow their heads off for the an attempted mugging. And such as the incident at VaTech? It’d never get off the ground.

    Proper gun control is exactly equivalent to proper target acquisition and “servicing”–the goal being the complete suppression of goblins. By citizens. For the good of the individual, society and the gene pool. Predators do NOT belong in a civilized society.

  27. Brooke says:

    God be with these folks.

  28. Planck's Constant says:

    MOre Guns – not fewer is the Answer to West Virginia Massacre…

    Annie Oakley Hopkins & Allen Wild West RevolverOriginally uploaded by Brian Howell. In the wake of the recent massacre by a lone, depraved psycho everyone is searching for a law enforcement solution to what they mistakenly assume is the problem.The…

  29. MariesTwoCents says:

    God Bless all the souls involved in this whole mess.

  30. David says:

    Minor “maybe-a-correction”–I was sucked into The Confederate Yankee’s post about the idiotic media assertions about “assault weapons” hoopla and discovered that according to some–contra to what was on the one–CNN–”report” I suffered through–one of the weapons at least was a Euro-weenie 9mm, not a .22. the 9mm slug is somewhere about halfway between a .32 and .38 in size with about the same stopping power (which is the reason many boots on the ground in Iraq and darned near ALL special forces prefer a .45).

    Just one lil ole granny with a .45 could have stopped the goblin before it got too far…

  31. Angel says:

    Thanks alls for the wonderful comments and additons! ;)

  32. Avoiceofreason says:

    To say healing and forgiveness after a day is insane. This will take a long long time. What is being said is it’s almost time for the news cycle to run out on this.

  33. Maggie M. Thornton says:

    I saw a young VT “reporter” who was upset that she could not remain objective – she cried, and she was upset about it. We listen to the endless guilt of those around him – most of whom could have done nothing. Those who could have done something, should have – but we cannot profile. We cannot discriminate. The only reasonable suggestion I’ve heard is that, had he been kept for a short time, even, in a mental facility, he would have been flagged and not been able to purchase a gun…so he would have used a knife.

    Suicide vest – two handguns shooting from a doorway into a narrow room; they are one and the same. It deserves huge anger. I believe the school had to do something to get the students together, to support them because many didn’t have parents near campus. Now the training must begin, using Flight 93 as the handbook. Healing can begin when the students believe they have the right to defend themselves.

    Your post, Angel, is what blogging is all about.

    Maggie
    Maggie’s Notebook

  34. Street talk and opinions » Forgiveness and Healing?..Not just YeT says:

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