January 6, 2021

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’                                                                                                                                                            Numbers 6:24-26

January 6, 2021- a day that will live in infamy? Maybe so. Probably so. The mob attack on the U.S. Capitol was shocking, and indeed traumatizing. As I watched it unfold, I was appalled, angry, sad. So were you. Our beloved Capitol building, historic, and symbolic of our government, was being overrun by a mob. It was a national trauma.

So, approaching from a counselor’s perspective, in dealing with trauma, we need to be mindful of some principles which can help us to heal. First, we need to talk about it and let some of the steam off. There is plenty of talk right now about this in the media, but I am suggesting that we personally process our feelings about it with trusted others. This really does help for perspective and for support of one another.

Next, we need to redeem this pain into something valuable in order to make it a healing event, not just a meaningless tragedy.  We need to determine what we can learn from this, and make it our national purpose to never let it happen again. Protests are fine, but mob violence is hideous and destructive. So, let’s be honest and call the event what it was- mob violence.

We can learn many things from the events of January 6, 2021. Crucially, we need to learn that hatred and mob violence is not the answer to social or political problems. Hatred only begets hatred. Our party differences are real, even necessary parts of a pluralistic and representative Republic, but those differences must be honored with respect for differing viewpoints.

Finally, as with any trauma, we cannot let the traumatic event define us. We must be overcomers, not victims. Our country can recover from this trauma with better clarity if we decide to learn from it and not to hold grudges and use this as another dividing point. Let me also be clear, those who broke into the Capitol building and can be identified on camera, should be prosecuted fully. Their behavior was dangerous and reprehensible.

But let’s not use this event as a way to claim victory for a particular viewpoint. Let Democrats and Republicans relearn how to reach across the aisle. Let voters be responsible and civil in our duty to learn about issues and candidates, from several sources, and vote our conscience. Let us begin the process of healing.

I want to share again excerpts from perhaps our greatest President in his second inaugural speech on March 4, 1865…

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

I only can add to this, Amen

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