I woke up this morning to see the Huffington Post alert on my phone. Mass Shooting at a bar in Southern California. This one only an hour and half from where I am currently at in Southern California while away for work and some play. I flashback to waking up on June 12, 2016, and seeing the alert on my phone of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. My heart sinks.
We learn that it was college night at the bar. My emotions flood me as I recall every school and college shooting that is embedded deep in my memory. Of young, innocent lives lost. Of lives full of hope and promise gone in a matter of minutes. In a matter of seconds. Gone. The high school I graduated from suffered it’s own shooting a few years back. Images of the school being evacuated from the same classrooms I once learned in, haunted me. They were similar images I saw as an 8th grader watching the events of Columbine unfold on the television. My heart sinks.
As more information is released, we discover that it happened at a country dance night. Now my memory flashes back to the October 1, 2017, Route 91 Harvest Music Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas. Where so many fans gathered for a night of fun while listening to their favorite country music artists perform. I have been to so many country concerts over my life span. I couldn’t help but imagine myself there. And now this shooting at a country dance night. I grew up in country dance clubs. My dad was a line dance instructor and I couldn’t wait to put on my cowboy boots every other Friday and go line dancing. We learn that some of these students at the bar had already survived the Las Vegas shooting. Now, this. My heart sinks.
“There are mysteries down where the blood meets the bone. The loneliness there, wouldn’t leave him alone. But what if we try to reach him with words? What if we looked in his eyes and asked “where does it hurt?” Would he find all he was worth? Monday was hoping but Tuesday’s broken.”
– “Tuesday’s Broken” by Sugarland.
(Check out this new, important song
from their latest record)
I believe that we need strict, sensible gun laws in this country but I have never believed that this alone would solve the issues with violence in our country. To get to the root of the issue, we need to listen to understand where people are at. To understand what drives them from deep pain and anger to killing innocent people. When we see others in pain, to ask “Where does it hurt?”.
So many of us live our lives passively. We rush through life from one appointment to another, from one event to another, from work to home to sleep. What if we actually took the time to slow down and get know our neighbor? Slow down and get to know our co-worker? Slow down and get to know our classmate? What if we took a few moments to call our friend we haven’t heard from in a while?
Rather than ignoring someone who is in pain because of the disruption it could bring to our life, what could change if we actually joined them on the journey? Healthy relationships can foster healing. They can help people discover a new, better way. Understanding leads to transformation.
Today, a Community of Christ faith leader and friend is spending his work day at the Swords into Plowshares peace monument on the World Plaza at our Temple in Independence, Missouri. He’s spending his work day there in a peaceful demonstration and in solidarity with those hurt by violence. I’m moved and inspired that his faith compelled him to do this today and am with him in spirit. I will always strive to choose the way of Christ’s peace even though that way is not always popular.
My heart sinks. But I believe in peace. And I believe our response can be the answer. Are we willing to respond?
What if we try to reach him with words? What if we looked in his eyes and asked “where does it hurt?” Would he find all he was worth?
(To hear Sugarland share the story of “Tuesday’s Broken”, click here.)