Monday, December 17, 2012

A Note.

I'm a little late on this week's Working For The Weekend.  In fact, lets just be honest, I'm a lot late and the weekend is over.  But I figured this was one of those better late than never scenarios.  In light of the tragic events that took place in Connecticut last Friday I decided to gather my thoughts instead of detailing the intricacies of my weekend plans.  There's a time for that but Friday wasn't it.  I think we all needed the weekend to mourn what happened, to pray for comfort for the families involved, to hug each other tight- to hug the kids in our life tight- and to be sad about the innocence that was lost in Newtown and anywhere in the world that holds a child scared to be in school today.

As I personally worked through the implications of Friday's events, I was reminded of the advice a very wise woman gave me when my uncle passed away a few years ago.  She said that, in times of tragedy, people with wonderful intentions often say the wrong thing.  They say "someday we'll know why this happened".  But they're wrong to suggest we should think about it in those terms.  Should we do all we can to try and prevent something like this from happening in the future?  Absolutely.  Should we find joy in instances where the impossible lessons we learned here saved others' lives?  Definitely.  But no matter what good comes from it- and good will come- we'll never find a satisfactory answer as to "why?".  No reason will ever be good enough and searching for one will only rob us of desperately needed strength.

That being said, you should know that I believe in a sovereign God who holds the whole universe in His hands.  And I don't believe that God abandoned us Friday.  I think He was there giving wisdom to teachers and courage to first responders and a peace that passes all understanding to the children caught in the middle of the terror.  To the well meaning believers who are implying this happened because "we took God out of schools" I would say that God is any and everywhere we as individuals ask Him to be and knocking and knocking and knocking on the doors we try and keep closed to Him.  Our puny man made legislation can't bind Him.  The reality is, the same free will that allows us to express non-programmed, genuine love also permits us to make unthinkable, horrific decisions that impact others.  Because of that, sometimes humans have a profound capacity for evil.  But we also have an incredible capacity for good.

So what do we do now?  I wish I had a better answer.  There's a feeling of helplessness that comes into play in scenarios like this that I often soothe with one of my favorite quotes.  To summarize Edward Everett Hale, I am only one but I am one.  I can't do everything but I can do something, and I will not let what I can not do stop me from doing what I can.

Don't give up on each other.  That's what we can do.  Be an encouragement.  Speak life into the people around you.  Refuse to get annoyed even when you have an excuse to.  Be kind even when you don't feel like it.  Take a moment to realize that the teacher you want to get aggravated with over some trivial detail would more than likely give their life to protect your child.  The family member or friend that you'll have to "put up with" over the holiday season would probably step in front of a moving train for you if it came down to it.  We are precious to each other.  We can't forget that.  And as my pastor put it yesterday, we don't get to decide how we'll die but we do get to decide how we'll live.  Let's do it well.

I hope you'll join me in praying for the many victims of this senseless act.  I know this type of post isn't exactly par for the course on a design blog but this is just one of those things you can't pretend didn't happen.  I can't pretend it didn't happen.  But I can and will take comfort where comfort can be found- in the holy word of God.  Romans 8:35,37-39 says "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Amen.


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