I had planned to write a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek, funny blog post today but in light of yesterday’s headlines regarding another senseless shooting, the idea feels not only wrong, but impossible. I can’t be lighthearted. We said we’d keep it real, right? There can be no faking it today, when my heart is so very heavy.
I hesitate to comment publicly on these tragedies because it feels almost disrespectful to speak of such horrors on social media walls and news feeds that deal mostly in banalities. Yet it feels even more disrespectful to stay silent, to look away and move on with my life.
The number of senseless shootings this year is more than I want to count. But count is the least we can do. We must acknowledge. We must bear witness. Each number is a name. Each numbered victim is a person with a family. How many of them had little babies at home that will grow up without a parent? How many of them were young and tender, just starting out in life? How many of them were engaged? How many of them were about to retire?
I can’t stop replaying the whole day in my head. Yesterday morning I got up early. I poured myself coffee. I made my kids breakfast. I got to work on a new writing challenge. I kissed my tinies goodbye when they went to school. I had coffee with friends. We laughed. We played cards. It was a normal day.
Until it wasn’t.
Yesterday morning 13 people in Roseburg woke up. They got ready for school. Maybe they had coffee. Maybe they were in a rush and grabbed a bagel for the road. Maybe they hugged or kissed a family member on their way out the door. Maybe they didn’t.
They got up and went to school and they never came home.
After the worst day of their lives, their families will wake in the night with horror, remembering that it’s real. That they’re really gone. Maybe they’ll run to their bedrooms in a sleepy panic, hoping it was all a bad dream and maybe their person is there, lying in their bed- only to have the reality of the day burned fresh into their memory- the agony of knowing that not only are they gone, but they were taken.
With violence they were taken away from us. Those families- how many of them are parents? How many of them are siblings? How many of them are children left behind?
How many mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, siblings, fiancees, and friends will have to stand at a grave, watch a box be lowered into the cold hard ground, and then be expected to…what? Somehow tear themselves away from that spot? Move on? Keep doing life?
These families- they aren’t so far removed from you and I.
This shooting hits particularly close to home for me, as I live only one hour away in Oregon. I drive through Roseburg all the time. It’s familiar. It feels safe. It’s a small town, not unlike the small town I live in. It was a small campus. It was a normal day.
Until it wasn’t.
What becomes of us? Where do we go from here? How many more times will this happen? My heart is heavy and I don’t have much to offer up other than my voice, my grief, and a rising fury.
Romans 12:15 says to weep with those who weep. Mourn with those who mourn.
And how could we not.
* This is Day 2 of a 31 Day series on Keeping It Real. You can find all of the posts in this series here. I hope you follow along and join the conversation! *