Bumper sticker thought for the day

17 Dec

I don’t put much stock in bumper sticker wisdom, but I saw one today that gave me pause. It read:

Human being is half verb.

I didn’t get it at first, but then the light flickered on: the phrase “human being” is half verb. In other words, what we are is being, and that’s a process and an evolution. It’s a discovery, as opposed to a fixed reality, or an entitlement. And how we be defines what it means to be human.

In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, the idea that we are what we are being resonates.

Troubling though it is at a time when we’re all trying to distance ourselves from shooter Adam Lanza (wondering what was wrong with him, and how he could have done what he did), I keep reminding myself that he was human, too. That he was being human. Maybe in a way that’s unfathomable and horrifying to some of us, but human nonetheless. Creating, along with the rest of us, the human narrative. This is not to excuse or minimize what he did, but to witness his as a human act. And maybe in that, there’s hope: instead of trying to fight unimaginable monsters, we can focus on trying to be there for and with the folks among us, who need a little more of the best of humanity.

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