Tragedy weighs on our souls

Our hearts hurt. There is just such a feeling of despair and sadness at the loss of nine lives that mattered as they prayed in Charleston, S.C.

So quickly the labels start and the easy answers come to the fore: Madman, evil, gun control, helpless, racist. But those labels may be exactly the problem.

If we make any of this too easy and put these ideas in little boxes, we can dismiss the real issues and avoid the real work. We can again segregate our memories of the flames of Ferguson, the bombing that killed four little girls and now nine people massacred by a racist in a church.

That easy path would be immoral. To take it damages not just your heart at this moment, but your soul for much longer.

So instead of telling yourself that this evil has nothing to do with you, or that it is all about you, take some personal responsibility. Take some initiative.

Go talk to your neighbors who are different. Don’t remain silent when others speak racism, sexism or hate.

But think — not what you could have done to stop a racist massacre, but the million little things we can all do to improve race relations.

We start with education, discussion and hope for understanding. Then we teach our children the opposite of hate. We teach them the Golden Rule.