The massacre in Orlando happened.
Forty-nine lives taken, fifty-three injured, countless lives changed forever.
Terror sprung on unsuspecting lives.
I was sleeping soundly in the place coined, “The Happiest Place On Earth,” a mere 18 miles from gunshots and blood shed.
Upon waking, the news reached my ears and landed in my gut, like lead.
There are no words.
There is no platitude that soothes.
There is no sense to be made.
Our vacation carried on.
Upon entering parks, I was asked to trust those around me, strangers, amid throngs of people.
Trust humanity, trust goodness, trust God.
Cast members smiled politely as if tragic history hadn’t happened six hours earlier.
The paradox of riding Splash Mountain while EMS workers tended to bodies was not lost on me.
Could I give myself permission to live, to experience joy, in the midst of national grief?
Noticing others carry on, I wondered, “Is it numb denial that allows us to put one foot in front of the other or the grace of God woven through our bones strengthening our human spirit when we are met by darkness?”
Carrying on does not mean we forget.
Carrying on in darkness is an invitation for gratitude, for reflection, for LIVING.
Carrying on allows us to be the light bearers in an often dark world.
We must not detach from the delicate nature of our existence.
Just as easily, unspeakable tragedy may call us in the middle of the night.
Life is thin glass.
Our bodies are paper floating in the current.
Our words whispers of this moment.
The space between us is potential for compassion and understanding.
How do we act upon this?
How do we give an inch?
How do we trust the stranger in a world made of eggshells?
In the still place, the stirring of love takes hold.
In the still place, I see my reflection, as is.
My inadequacies are revealed.
My heartache, anger and fears surface.
This is where God holds my fragility, breathing,
“Be still and know that I am God.”
It is in this quiet place of compassion, Christ’s balm covers me.
This, I carry into the world,
knowing this compassion is not only for me,
but to be spread.
Yes, you and I, WE are the light bearers.
This is our call. When tragedy happens and we stand from a distance, we are the ones called to share a seed of love. With a stranger. To be gentle with our words. To listen. To have an extra dose of patience. WE are the ones called to continue to live. To be present to the moment. To experience joy. To laugh louder and forgive easier. Soon enough, tragedy will meet us. In that moment, may we meet pilgrims of light on our path who will carry us.
Each life is a vulnerable flower, proper tending required.
May we know the God of love, the Gardener who tends to our needs.
May we receive this care, in order that we may pass on this love to outcasts, loners, racists, bullies, liars, addicts, desperate, the fringe, the imprisoned, the pious,
believing our kind action and loving words are the water nourishing a faint seed.
The hatred must stop.
It is not someone else’s problem to change.
It begins with us.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
To Pray For:
May we continue to hold close in prayer the families of those killed in Orlando, the people injured, the city of Orlando for strength and courage through this time. Let us also not forget the family of Christina Grimmie, contestant on The Voice, who was tragically shot in the city of Orlando days before the attack on Pulse nightclub. Prayers also for the Graves’ family who lost their young son to an alligator attack in Disney days after the Orlando massacre.