If you're like me, you've watched the news in disbelief, you've read the articles to try to find out why. And if you're like me the 26 dead including 20 elementary school students leaves you with far more questions than answers.
I've tried to observe reactions to this. And reaction is passionate and widespread.
Some go immediately to grief and compassion and prayer for the victims...for the families...for the children who survived who all in some way, shape or form are less than children now.
Some go to fear. My kids aren't safe. I'm not safe. It's only a matter of time until it happens in my hometown.
Some go into problem solving. If only we had better gun control laws, school security laws...This needs done away with. That needs put in place. The fixes are a mile wide, but often only an inch deep.
It's ok to react in any of these ways. Compassion draws us together. Having renewed value and love for your children and not taking for granted the days you have with them is a good thing. Fixing systems and issues that lead to injustice and a world that isn't where it should be is likewise a good thing.
So my point...I'm not here to tell you how to feel.
How I feel?
I feel like compassion and grief for the children, families and school is appropriate, and easy. Compassion for a 20 year old and his family? Compassion for a young man who entered into some sort of deranged world where he believed actions like this were ok? That is tougher.
I'm incredibly sad. Sad for the families. Sad for the victims. Sad for the teachers. Sad for the young man who killed so many. Sad that somewhere, another young person is being pushed down a similar path. Maybe unloved by his family. Unliked by her peers. Unreached by his church.
And something dark deep inside him is festering.
I sat in a training for Big Brothers/Big Sisters this past Tuesday. 36 being trained. Only 6 were men. 1400 young people are on a wait list in Columbus to be mentored.
They want to be mentored.
And there aren't people...namely men...willing to poor into their lives.
Kids are close to the heart of God.
Letting kids fall through the cracks into despair and hopelessness is not ok.
I can't say it enough. Wake Up O Church! Stop pointing the finger at government. At laws. At 'kids these days'. And start pointing it back at yourself!
Don't try to preserve or protect yourself from your community...Instead pour yourself out for your community, reaching hearts and investing in the lives of young people so you know without a doubt that your community is safer.
If the world is going to "hell in a hand basket" as many religious folks have piously said, its because we have not effectively given the world ourselves.
I believe with all my heart that change starts here.
Prayer this week is simply. For this tragedy and all who are involved and for it to compel the Church to be the bearers of good news with great joy. Pray for the kids waiting for mentors in Columbus. Pray for C3 to put a dent in 1400.