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Mysteries that slap us in the face

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By Michael O'Hare
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

You know those kid questions, such as: “Why is the sky blue?”

There may be a satisfying scientific explanation for that one.

But then as we grow, maybe in our teens, there are: “Why is anything, anything?” Followed by: “Could there really not be anything, just nothing?”

Unless we devote our lives to religion or philosophy, most of us stop asking such questions. We get busy doing other things.

Even as we live much of our lives amid unfathomable mysteries, we become content with that.

Yet, some mysteries can't be avoided, are more immediate and are more troublesome.

Sept. 11, 2001– Newtown, Conn. – Boston. These are such mysteries, and there are many others that slap us in the face.

Knowing who or how does not settle down our need to stare into an abyss and wonder why. We may find solace; yet the mystery persists.

We are forever pained. In the sense that we all walked on the moon in the late 1960s, we are collectively victims of these horrible acts in America and elsewhere.

Wisdom creeps about the edges of our pondering. Such as the time I heard author Wayne Dyer say that people are looking for reasons to be offended; I found some understanding in that.

Or more recently, when I read from some source or another that it is impossible to win an emotional argument. The gun-control debate is an example.

Thousands killed in the wink of an eye in Manhattan; 20 children and six adults gunned down in an elementary school, three killed and more than 100 injured on a Boston street.

What did perpetrators think would be accomplished? Whatever their “messages,” they were completely lost in the horror. There is nowhere for the intellect to get a grasp, to comprehend, to apply balm to our sore brains and bleeding hearts.

Children – children just learning about life's mysteries — are killed, or lose parents or loved ones and survivors among them see that this is the way of the world even as they don't comprehend. They look to their adults, and we are simply dumbfounded.

You can't win an emotional argument, best not to try. Remain quiet, offer a comforting smile.

On NBC news a girl and her mom talked in Boston about lessons learned. The girl paraphrased what her mom just said, that hatred is not the answer. She was so sweet.

Hatred is not the answer to any of these mysteries.

As I write I look on my desk at pictures of a son, two daughters, four granddaughters and realize these are not mysteries that I can justly ignore.

So I resolve again to be loving, be caring, be compassionate, be understanding.

It starts at home. Where it ends, if it ends, how it ends? We must with that mystery, and stay home where the heart is and hope and pray for the best result.

We collectively walked on the moon, we can collectively spread what is good. That is less a mystery and more a challenge for this age.

Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to

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