Hugo describes the nations persistence through the Napoleonic wars: the inertia of the cultures of England and Germany and France independent of Waterloo. Such wars where mothers abruptly lose healthy sons persist with us. Its an easier thing for nations to resurge, buoyed by refreshed economic energy and distance from the personal pain for most individuals. Whether or not the cause seemed just, our children get caught in the bigger impersonal and unstoppable grind of events. And we will mourn again.
It is not only those relatively infrequent major crimes brought upon us by governments and power hungry despots from which we must recover. The terrible destruction that surrounds us cascades down from a holocaust to one lonely middle schooler sitting alone without a friend. Sadness scales, and the next day asks for our decision. Having experienced the sadness, will we start again? Can we successfully mourn and release the pain of past sufferings or disappointments to lay hold of the joy set before us? Is the hurt an anchor or a platform?
We get the chance to start over every day. We get to try again in relationships and life. We get to choose to pass others by or to greet them enthusiastically. We get to decide to pray or not. We can choose zeal and thoroughness in love, or we can veg out on business or TV. We can feed our selfish pleasures and erect our temporary temples to enjoy the better view, or we can exercise faith by loving even when it is risky and we end up looking foolish ourselves.
Each day is a new chance to mourn and release and try again, or a chance to distract ourselves and make sure we stay safe the next time.