Whatever this has been, it is behind us

Whatever this has been, it is behind us.

Whatever wave of emotion that has swept us from the center, pushing us against one another either to the left or to the right, where, from across the ensuing chasm we could no longer find civil words to greet our neighbors, it is behind us.

That tsunami of energy that knocked our heads together, leaving us hurt and off balance, has passed. The murk of it, the very content in which we have swirled, has subsided, drained by the same force that pushed it upon us.

I live in a town remarkable for many things, among them multiple Pulitzer Prize winners and the confluence of a river and creek that the natives were said to claim would never be the site of a cyclone. The founder of my town, for in my heart it is my town, was a man named Wilson Brewer. He chose to build his family’s cabin near that confluence and he named the place Newcastle.

One day, when the place had grown enough that there were streets with names that still exist with mud routes that long since have been covered with pavement, Wilson Brewer argued with a man over the presidential election and was stabbed.

Then he went home and died.

That is how the life of the man who founded my town ended.

When I was young, my grandmother had a book called The Flood. I never read it. Instead, what I remember is the image of a white dove in flight across a gentle blue-green cover.

Even then, young enough to not know some of its words, I was old enough to get this message: In the wake of the horrific, what can rise is peace.

It is a peace that we wish could last.

When we have experienced a peace like that, its absence is bitter.

That is what is behind us now.

The bitter absence.

We are here.

We are standing.

And we are whole.

Now, how do we go forward?

Jane Curtis is the editor of The Messenger.