What to say and how to say it? I’m not sure as I start to type.
I’m reeling from Sunday night’s events in Las Vegas. I sat at my desk this morning and listened to the first responder’s audio. Tears streamed down my face. For those experiencing this tragedy firsthand, I offer my sincere condolences. I weep with you.
As more details become available, a slightly clearer picture of this man comes into focus. Alone. Premeditated. Succumbed to evil. Apart from love. Was he mentally ill? I don’t know. Depressed? Maybe. Angry – ABSOLUTELY.
We may never know what spurred this on. It will leave us all with a shard of fear, questions about that person living down the street or in the hotel room next to us, a hesitation about crowds and what’s on the other side of the door. That is EXACTLY what evil wants for us. To worry, hesitate, and isolate ourselves. To withdraw. To lose trust- in ourselves, in each other, and in God.
Free will. The ability to make our own choices. I’ve said it before. It is a double edged sword.
We have the CHOICE- good or evil. We have the CHOICE- help or hurt. We have the CHOICE- forgiveness or retaliation.
He CHOSE evil, hurt, and retaliation. He CHOSE to inflict pain on innocent people.
This is where we have to fight back. I CHOOSE good, to help, and to forgive. I CHOOSE to love my neighbor. I CHOOSE to shine with the love God gives me to use.
Yes, I’ve been hurt. I’ve been damaged and flat out broken at points. Some moments in life take your breath away, sink you all the way to the bottom, and suck away the life you are clinging to.
I’m also redeemed, accepted, forgiven and loved for all my low and high points. If only the shooter had felt a small portion of that, I can’t help but think he might have chosen differently.
Yesterday, on top of the sadness about Las Vegas was a bitterness that I’ve not experienced before from someone I personally know. It was directed at people who are praying.
“Frankly, if you’re still just thinking and praying, you’re an asshole.”
Ouch! Whoa buddy. Hold that rancorous, spiteful thought for just a moment…
I’m not “just thinking and praying.” I’m currently working with youth at a welcoming faith-based outreach program. I’m also active at my children’s school- not just as a PTO member, but as a caring person willing to stoop down to help tie a shoe, hold a door, and say good morning or hello to that sweet little face that is scowling on his way in or out the doors. I don’t know what they are experiencing and absorbing at home, but for the love, I am going to be a positive influence on them!
I’m doing my little piece as big and as wide as I can. And YES. I’m praying.
I challenge you if you find yourself not only sad, but also bitter and angry, to find a way to positively interact with those around you. This world is broken. It always has been. It seems that more of the pieces keep shattering. But in this, I keep seeing the good. The good surfaces where there is brokenness – in the aftermath of the hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and crimes – neighbors step up, charities step in, people start looking outside themselves and praying for the benefit of others.
The GOOD rises.
Be the GOOD.