Written by: Kristen Oliver
Wow. I know like me, many of you are heartbroken and filled with questions.
How does this keep happening?
Why does this keep happening?
What can we do about it?
Should we ban guns?
Should we arm teachers?
How do you prepare for something like this?
Should I send my kids back to school?
Can I still be a teacher?
How do I explain this to my kids? The students?
I can’t begin to imagine what the parents, teachers, friends and family from the school shooting in Parkland, FL are experiencing right now. I know I don’t have the right words to say. If you hear anything let me say, I am deeply sorry for your loss, and the fact that you even had to experience this tragedy.
Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, FL on Wednesday, I have been reading all the press releases, watching the news and reading articles. All in an attempt to try to make sense of this senseless act of crime. It doesn’t matter how much evidence comes out about this situation, NOTHING will make it OK, or better. It is simply a horrific senseless act on innocent kids and teachers.
Now, we are left in the aftermath of this event, wondering when it will happen again? How close to home will it be? (This was about 3 and a half hours from me, and that feels WAY TOO CLOSE to home.) Honestly, it doesn’t matter where these things happen, because the fact that they are happening is what is scary. However, it seems to take a different toll on you when it’s near you. Near your life. Near your family. Near your friends. This does not just become a tragedy for “them” but it is starting to become “our” reality. In 2018 our culture says we are; independent, bold, innovative, unique. Yet at the same time, we live in a society of anxiety, loneliness, suspicion and fear.
There is so much fear in our culture today. Satan is attacking our families anyway he can. Our teachers are on the front of the battlefield. Our Teachers have always been the unsung everyday heroes, and now they are literally becoming fallen heroes. I am a teacher, and I have been in an 8th grade class when we had a real lockdown because someone was trespassing on campus. I was terrified. As the only adult in the room, the teacher does not get to freak out, or even think of themselves. I had students who were crying in my class because they didn’t know if someone was going to shoot up the school.
I was listening to the Joy FM this morning and they were discussing the shooting. I don’t remember if it was Dave, Bill or Carmen that shared this statement, but it was powerful to me and hopefully for you.
Infamy takes place of insignificance
When people feel insignificant they want to leave an infamous impression, almost as to prove their worth. I was listening to the radio intently for understanding, an explanation, something! Instead, what I got were real people sharing their hearts and deepest sympathies with the families and friends of the ones affected. I do not have the answers, I do not have an explanation, other than to say that we live in a fallen world.
Man, this makes me feel sad, I just don’t even have a better word. The only thing I can even think to do that might make a difference in this fear filled world we live in today, is to show people they matter. Show the people around you that you love them, that they are seen and cared for. Ultimately, people want to know they are valued.
A few action steps for us today:
PRAY for people who you know are hurting, going through a hard time or need to know they are loved. (If nobody comes to your mind, pray for your kid’s teachers!)
REACH OUT to someone and tell them they matter, send a text, FB message, SnapChat. We are so easily accessible these days, yet people still feel alone. Make an effort to reach out to one person individually, let them know you see them.
LIVE OUT what you believe. There are so many things this statement does not mean, but for sake of time and word count, I will tell you what it does mean… Be authentic in your work place, at home, with your spouse. LOVE OTHERS THE WAY CHRIST LOVES US. For those who do not know, Christ loves us unconditionally. His love for us is NOT based on our outward appearance, what we say or even what we do. His love never changes. He freely offers that love to us so that we can be free, from all the expectations and impossible standards this world holds us to.
I believe as a nation we NEED to be praying for our students, their families, teachers, and people they come in contact with. You never know what someone is going through, they may just need to know they are noticed, they have value, and someone cares for them. I know this is not a fix for all our problems, but it is a start. We HAVE to start somewhere. Start in your community, your workplace, your school, your church, your home.
I truly do not even feel qualified to be writing this. But I felt so deeply impacted by this tragedy that I felt prompted to say something. A scripture that has brought some relief to me has been:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalms 34:18