TIGARD — It is difficult, given our instantaneous access to news, not to question where God is in all the suffering and sorrow we see splashed across our screens. Day after day, there are more and more mass shootings and instances of gun violence that seem impossible to stop because elected officials seem to have forgotten who elected them to Congress in the first place.

For elders and senior citizens it is even more frustrating because they remember times when moral courage was the norm and personal integrity to do the right thing was paramount in Congress and society. I lament not only the changing mores but also the fact that because of age, I feel that my ideas can be easily overlooked.

I can sympathize with others of my generation who lament the loss of civility in the public arena as well as the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy, who often create the perception that elders don’t matter. Their ideas of civil discourse in a safe place where it is okay “to agree to disagree” has been tossed aside for tribal allegiance, personality cult worship, fear and hate of the other, and finally, an unwillingness to listen and dialogue about ideas if one does not agree. Coupled with a lack of techno-sophistication, this can further isolate elders who have legitimate concerns and possible solutions to today’s challenges. Many individuals feel elders’ solutions will necessarily be behind the times and no longer relevant.

The answer to this problem can be found in the words Jesus spoke from the cross as he was dying. It begins with forgiveness. From a perspective of releasing anger, hate, and seeking to get even, we can see that Jesus provides us with the first step.

The second step, after moving forward to forgive others, is to pray for them. Jesus urged us to “love our enemies, [doing] good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27). What better good can we do for others than to pray for them and let God do the heavy lifting to bring about a change of heart?

Finally, to properly fulfill our commitments to be engaged in public life, we should make every effort to ensure our voice is heard through voting and engaging in public affairs. One of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic was that online gatherings can be effective. Help from tech-savvy youngsters might be needed to connect elders to virtual meetings or town halls. This reverse mentoring will help not only the elder, but further enhance the relationship between elders and younger people.

I hope these suggestions will spur other reflections that might arise from prayer. If nothing else, such activities will have positive effects on a broken world. Take a chance. Incorporate these ideas into your prayer time and see where these suggestions might lead.

Felton, a Tigard Catholic, holds master’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies and applied theology from Marylhurst University and a doctorate in ministry from Portland Seminary.