I have conflicted feelings. Quite often. But, today’s conflicted feelings come over the reactions to tragedy in the lives of celebrities. I’m about to let you in on my super jerky/cynical side. I’m warning you, it isn’t pretty. I am also choosing to not name any specific tragedy (while I will refer to a specific blog) because my feelings are not about one specific or particular event. [Now is a good time to thank God that only four people read my blog]

I was reading a blog this morning. The post I was reading was addressing some comments about the previous day’s post about the tragedy that had befallen a Christian celebrity. The original author simply named a tragedy involving the celebrity’s child and asked readers to pray for the family. However, some of the comments seemed to go askew – accusations of hypocrisy in the Christian community, accusations about the “goodness” of God. Get ready, here comes the jerk part… As I was reading this, I found myself agreeing with the negative comments – maybe more accurately, empathizing with their notions.

Isn’t it hypocritical for you and the Christian community to highlight the death of one child – however tragic – when so many die tragically around the world?

[Bear with me, I’m going to try something on for size and see if it fits]

Hypocritical? I would insert “insidious.” I read comment after comment to the original post where authors were expressing heart felt concern and pain in regards to this family’s tragedy. But, I – I felt nothing. I’m supposed to, though. I’m supposed to grieve and ache and feel a profound sense of distress over the death of a child I didn’t even know existed. And, if I don’t, I’m cold and inhuman. I’m also supposed to gloss over, ignore, bury, or repress any feelings (which isn’t too hard because they don’t usually exist to begin with) I might have about a homeless woman asking for change at the offramp; a gang kid killed in Compton; a drug addict dyeing alone from HIV. And, if I don’t, I’m unrealistic and immaturely idealistic.

Is vicarious grieving insidious? Faced with daily tragedies in my own neighborhood, how much easier is it to grieve a far removed loss of someone I don’t even know. I can grieve the death of a famous child instead of grieving the death of an unknown crack addict. Does the high profile tragedy become a scapegoat for my grief over a broken (local) world?

I guess there could be another side of the coin: “no, I do not care about that poor kid down the street, but I do care about that famous Christian guy’s kid.” Be honest. It’s insidious.

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