Twenty-two (22) deaths in Portapique, Nova Scotia. The staggering reality of the recent mass-murder in this Atlantic provice is a hard one to understand. In Canada, the scope of the violence perpetrated by just one person is unprecedented. Yet while it took place far away, it has hit every Canadian hard. We are at a loss for words. We feel helpless. Too many people are grieving and facing great losses. The peaceful community of Portapique, the last place you would ever expect a thing like this to happen, will never be the same.
I hate writing this. I’m sure you’re not pleased reading what I’m offering. These are difficult words; the reality that has inspired them is even more difficult. I can hardly believe it less alone accept it. However, it is the truth; 22 beautiful souls, including an RCMP constable who was trying to keep people from dying, were murdered. That is the plain and simple, albeit awful truth…
…and truth, however terrible, must be spoken and acknowledged.
Sometimes we deliberately walk around the Elephant in the room, looking in the other direction, pretending it isn’t there. Unfortunately, the Elephant doesn’t care; it moves about, tripping us up, knocking us down, causing us grief and misery even as we try our best to avoid it. There is no other way than to open our eyes and to see it for what it is, to acknowledge it and accept that it is an undeniable fact of life. Today’s Elephant is an unbelievable death toll and the grief and sorrow of so many innocent people across our vast nation.
As hard as it is to write these words, as hard as it is to stare the Elephant in the eye, it is also the only way to deal with our pain, mourn the victims, support those who have been impacted by the tragedy and…
…make the Elephant in the room go away.
To speak the truth is to take control of how we deal with it. We can’t change it, but we can let it sink in without letting it overwhelm us. We can speak about it together so that we don’t have to bear its full weight alone. We can discuss what it means, the whats and the whys and learn from what happened. And slowly but surely, one staggering step at a time, we can accept it and move on.
It is a painful truth we are dealing with. It is a horrible, awful Elephant. But if we don’t speak of it or acknowledge it, a terrible truth can overwhelm us. The only way to keep that from happening is to write or speak the words so that what they address will not cause us any further harm.
Jesus said: “The truth shall set you free”. He was talking to those who refused to believe Him and what he taught. When we bind ourselves to the truth of Christ, then there is no earthly truth, or Elephant, that can overwhelm us.
If we are to overcome the truth of the tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia, we must speak first it.