Tragedy to Transformation

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” — Robert F. Kennedy

As students of A Course in Miracles, this statement by Robert Kennedy is exactly how we should be looking at any tragedy but especially the latest shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. The Course tells us that the Holy Spirit uses everything as a teaching device for bringing us home. Therefore, it is time for us to use every experience, even these, as moments to heal the Son of God.

The Course says the purpose of the world is to heal the Son of God and the purpose of our learning is to enable us to bring the quiet with us and to heal distress and turmoil.

“You will yet learn that peace is part of you, and requires only that you be there to embrace any situation in which you are.” (

It is time for us to embrace these situations and gain wisdom from them, so they do not need to continue to happen over and over again. What happened to our “family” in New York and Texas should be taken personally, and we need to ask within what this is personally for us and how we can be truly helpful in this world to bring a miracle of healing to this moment. Let us not get lost in our fear, anger, or feelings of impotence. There is something each and every one of us can do; no act is insignificant. We need to open our minds and hearts to God’s plan for salvation by this invitation:

“What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?” (Lesson 71)

The Course tells us…

“What the world is, is but a fact. You cannot choose what this should be. But you can choose how you would see it. Indeed, you must choose this.” (M-11.1)

Yes, we can and must change how we view the world. This means that we must take every event as an opportunity to join together for healing. Maybe you will be guided to become more politically or socially involved. Perhaps you will call your representatives and senators and voice your views, or perhaps you will decide to support organizations that promote help and understanding for those going through tragedies.

As we follow our guided actions in this world, let us remember to embrace these situations in peace. God’s love is big enough to heal any pain and sadness and lift us above the battleground to a place of healing and safety.

When sadness or fear grips you today, remember love is stronger than hate and can heal anything the world shows you. The Course tells us…

“This world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt.” (T-28.II.12)

As a student of the Course, you have been doing the work — practicing your lessons, reading the text, and setting your mind with God every day and night. Therefore, you are capable and ready to make a healing difference in this world. Join your mind with all of us who affirm the transformative power of a miracle to heal this world and bring us to a place where peace does indeed reign.

You might find comfort in the prose of 24-year-old poet Amanda Gorman. Her poem below was first printed in The New York Times on May 27, 2022.

Hymn for the Hurting

Everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
And yet none of it is new;
We knew it as home,
As horror,
As heritage.
Even our children
Cannot be children,
Cannot be.

Everything hurts.
It’s a hard time to be alive,
And even harder to stay that way.
We’re burdened to live out these days,
While at the same time, blessed to outlive them.

This alarm is how we know
We must be altered —
That we must differ or die,
That we must triumph or try.
Thus while hate cannot be terminated,
It can be transformed
Into a love that lets us live.

May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost.

Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.

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