So much has been said about the recent Orlando shooting, I’m just one more voice that may or may not be heard.
Still…I can’t not say some things.
1. First of all, it sickens me to see we are here again. More senseless killing.
2. I live 45 minutes from Orlando. My daughter and I frequent the city often to visit The Container Store, Ikea, Whole Foods, and to pick up loved ones from the airport. We’d never heard of the Pulse nightclub until this past weekend. No matter…Orlando is our extended family city. Terrorism just got a lot closer.
3. I wish the media would stop stressing that Pulse was a gay nightclub. It was a nightclub with people in it. Innocent people loved by friends and family. The shooter injured and slaughtered human beings – lives God formed with His Divine hand and loved unconditionally.
Throughout history, yes, particular groups have been targeted for elimination: Jews, Catholics, African-Americans, the unborn, and more. The human heart has an infinite ability to hate. We can disagree with belief systems and lifestyle choices, (and in the end, God sorts that out – not us), but we never have the right to take a life. When evil purposely destroys life, victims have only one label: Children of God.
4. Mister Rogers tells a great story of how a young child once asked him (in more childlike words), in the face of danger, or a tragedy, what are we to do? How can we not be scared? He replied, “Look for the helpers. There are always people who are helping.”
There were many helpers over the course of the Orlando tragedy: the police officers who battled Mateen, officers who dragged people to safety; the surgeons and nurses and hospital staff who battled equally hard to save lives and reduce suffering; Orlando residents who lined up to give blood; and Chick-fil-A, who opened their normally-closed-on-Sunday stores to provide sandwiches and sweet tea to volunteers. The human heart has an infinite capacity to love as well.
5. As I do with every one of these tragedies, I pray after this one too that we all examine our own hearts and see what drives our own choices. Do we live from a place of humility, or arrogance? Fear, or trust in God’s sovereignty? Do we operate from a place of entitlement, or service? Selfishness, or compassion? We create the world we live in, and if we want it to be less violent, we have to work on ourselves. Gandhi said it best: You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
OK, I’m done. I feel better. Thanks for reading what’s on my heavy heart.