Shattered. That’s really the only word that comes to my mind to describe today.
Peace and quiet – shattered.
The daily to-do list – shattered.
The Christmas errands – shattered.
My heart – shattered.
Families – shattered.
Joy – shattered.
Everything seems completely meaningless in the aftermath of the email I received from my husband only hours ago.
Connecticut School Shooting
Walking out of the post office, I felt such accomplishment at having finished up all of my Christmas shopping and shipping, and way ahead of schedule to boot. As I went to my phone to email my husband and brag about my success, I saw that he had beaten me to the punch. Except the subject line of his email held a much more ominous phrase than what mine would have been – “Connecticut School Shooting.”
“Oh God, please, not another shooting!” I said. I opened it, dreading the inevitable, and there it was. All the email said was “24 kindergarteners killed.”
I grabbed my iPad, tears streaming down my face and sobs already shaking my body, and looked up Yahoo news – “Dozens, including children, killed.” The tagline screamed at me and the news that they were kindergarteners left me speechless and ripped me apart, completely and utterly helpless. I wanted to do something, anything to make it better, but I could not think of one thing.
As I pictured the murderous scenes and devastating aftermath for the families in my mind, I was overcome with unbelievable grief. Why God? Why the children? How could they? How are the parents going to handle this? How can they survive so much grief? Kindergarteners???!!!
Anger surged in my blood – surely, the murderer must die! I would have shot him myself, I am sure of it! The desire to arm every teacher with a handgun entered my mind, only to be quickly dismissed at the ludicrousness of such an idea. That certainly is not the answer. Still, the killer must pay, right? Suicide seemed like such a compassionate solution for the gunman. I longed for more justice!
But the gunman did kill himself—he took the easy and selfish way out—and with him, he took too many innocent, beautiful children. And I still felt the need to DO something more than sit helplessly in front of the post office and just think and cry.
Fighting the urge to go and collect my kids from their own school, I tried desperately to gather myself together. I found it hard to get a grip as images and emotions kept flooding through my heart and mind. Lord, please, help me. Help me to put some words to this… Help me to find you, to find some sense in this senseless situation. Help my heart, help my mind…
Leaving the post office, I tried to make my way back to work when I found myself with tears clouding my eyes stuck in a massive traffic jam of people consumed by their own worlds and on their own missions. So I sat there, waiting for hundreds of Christmas shoppers and various errand runners to clear out of my way, wondering why the world was still turning, and finding the pointless activities and what we call “life” quite insane.
Perspective on the Fiscal Cliff
In a country caught up in Black Friday stampedes, the latest Kardashian hookup, baby, or breakup, the ultimate battle to win the hottest toy of the season, Furby, and even the “Fiscal Cliff” came this rude awakening—this reminder that things here on earth are horribly wrong!
We are at war—a war that has already been won but in which battles still rage. Goodness and love versus evil and hatred is a real battle. People are hurting and their lives are shattered—to many different levels and degrees. Senseless shootings, massacres at home and abroad, war and famine, natural disasters, suicide, depression, and a seemingly never-ending list of other human maladies all signify horrible injustice and disorder in a world that was lovingly created by the ultimate Good One and the very definition of Love.
No doubt, the following days will be filled with endless gun control debates, political posturing, religious fanaticizing, anti-Jesus blasphemy, unanswerable questions, and deep heartache as we all try to process the horror and come to terms with it in our own lives.
Meanwhile, there are people hurting—in Connecticut and in your neighborhood. They need to be loved, they need to see love, and they need to know love. They need to know that this is not our home, that things are indeed terribly wrong, and that there really IS more to life than this.
And while I don’t have all the answers and my heart is still shattered, the truth remains:
– The devil is the author of all chaos, death, and destruction. The Lord, Jesus Christ, is the author of all life, peace, love, and renewal.
– The Lord is the great Healer. He can heal in ways that we cannot even comprehend.
– What others intend for evil, God WILL use for good. Even when it is beyond our ability to even fathom, He will use even the most horrific evil for ultimate good.
– There are no guarantees in this temporary world, except that this world is temporary.
– All things pale in comparison to the eternal.
– This shooter will face his Maker. God’s judgment will pose on him a fate far worse than we could ever offer them. He will spend eternity in Hell.
This truth also remains: personally, I want to do more. So, what have I decided to do?
Pray. Prayer is our direct connection to the Master Healer and the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. It is our most powerful method to reach out and help others. It needs to be our first reaction in every situation. We all need to get down on our knees and lift these families up in prayer. We need to pray for healing, peace, comfort, and strength. Pray that He will hold these families in His arms and carry them through. Then don’t stop—we need to keep on praying!
Love. My kids, my husband, my neighbors, and even strangers—I will love them with God’s help every day and in every possible way that I can. The world needs more love. Reach out and love others today and every day.
Matter. I want to make what I do, think, and say matter. I want to think on things that have eternal implications. I want to do things that glorify God and help people for now and eternity. I want to say things that honor the Lord and others. I want to focus on what matters the most. I want to keep myself from getting wrapped up in the cares of this world! So I will ask myself, does what I do on a day to day basis MATTER? How can I make it matter?
Too Close To Home
I don’t know why this event hit me harder than the massacres in Syria and around the world or the shooting in Portland, except, if I’m honest, it hit way too close to home. Images of my own children being in the same position as Sandy Hook Elementary continue to flash through my head and they devastate me. The truth is that, while this event stands out and is extremely horrible, we need to realize that every day is a battle for some and a tragedy for others. Let us never grow weary in fighting to overcome evil, hatred, and despair with the love in our lives through what Jesus did on the cross.
His sacrifice, His blood spilt, and His resurrection are the ultimate example of love conquering evil. He is true Love. Know Him and then you will know love. Let Him come in to this situation and every situation. Let Him conquer this evil with His love. Be that light of His. Demonstrate His love to a fallen and desperately broken world. Go home and start with your family. Love them and love them well. Then go outside of your home and find ways to love others.