My heart is heavy with sorrow.
Gunshots can’t be heard from 300 miles away, but the reverberations of the shootings of 6 young people at a high school not far from my hometown are felt in my heart.
One of those victims is the daughter/niece/cousin of 3 of my former classmates.
Yes, it hit close to home. This could have been my own son’s high school. It could have been any school. It could have been your own kids or grandkids, nieces or nephews. And things like this keep happening all over the country.
What has happened to us as a society, that such tragedies are almost commonplace in recent years?
I think it boils down to two things:
1) When we were kids, cartoon violence was obviously not real (think Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry). Now, kids are growing up playing video games that MAKE violence occur — from obvious cartoon violence like Mario’s SuperSmashBros. to computer generated, quasi-realistic situations where gamers play at war. Instead of watching things occur and laughing at them, computer games INVOLVE the player and make them PART of the violence… with no consequences.
I’m not saying that people can’t tell the difference between reality and the game; I’m pointing out that we “play” at violence as a society, as well as watch it in movies and on television. It becomes something we DO on a regular basis.
2) This was so well-written that I’m quoting it directly from an unknown source (a commenter on an article):
Welcome to the United States the NRA hath wrought. Put a gun in EVERY hand, and everyone will be safer. Well, do YOU feel safe? These are NOT criminals or gang bangers. They’re your neighbors and classmates. The equation “anger + gun” NEVER works out to our benefit.
My libertarian friends believe that everyone would be safer with a gun to protect themselves and their families against “the bad guys.” What they don’t seem to understand is that it doesn’t have to be a “bad guy” — anyone can become a killer in an angry moment if there is a gun available.
The same commenter quoted above also said this:
You never know what button, pushed, will send ANYONE postal. The important thing is that there not be a deadly weapon right there at hand when he goes off. ESPECIALLY not one that would allow him to kill multiple people in a short period of time – even at a considerable distance. There’s no way an innocent victim can defend him or herself from a bullet, no matter what silliness you see in the movies.
And I, for one, am tired of crying over senseless deaths of young people.
Call to Confession
Let us speak the truth about ourselves
to our neighbors and to God,
acknowledging what we have done
and what we have left undone.
Prayer of Confession
Your holiness, O God, commands that we confess:
We have neither loved our neighbors as ourselves
nor honored ourselves as your beloved creation.
We have judged unjustly,
regarded others ungenerously,
profited at the losses of those near and distant,
borne grudges, desired vengeance,
and kept silence in the face of wrongdoing.
We long to live in accord with your desire
that your way of compassion, kindness, and honesty
will govern our hearts and minds,
turning us toward lives of peace.
Forgive us and lead us. Amen.
The above words were printed in our bulletin this morning. They are from a worship book called Feasting on the Word.
- “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6:8
- ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” — Matthew 22:37-39
At church today, the scriptures read were ones that I have claimed as my guiding verses — wisdom upon which I try to base my life. And although I am the one who puts together the bulletin each Sunday, I am not the one who chose the scriptures to be read nor am I the one who chose the Call to Confession and the Prayer of Confession. (The bold print means that we read it aloud together.)
Since I do not believe in coincidences like this, I suspect that God is reminding me that I have a long way to go.
It’s now October, and I’m still not back to regular blogging (and let’s not discuss the status of my feed reader). Consider this my reaching out to keep in touch during a busy season of life by way of letting you know what I’ve been doing these past few weeks:
- Keeping my farmer’s market booth stocked with new items — some of these are now up on my Etsy site as well.
- Working on a few special orders for lanyards and cards. Normally I only make note cards using my own photos, but a friend is now living in Guatemala and has asked me to make cards using her own photos and those of a mutual friend, highlighting scenes from her adopted country. This is the second time I’ve made a batch of cards for her to take back with her and I like to give credit where credit is due.
- I took boy#3 to college on September 19th, had dinner with a few friends on Friday night and then attended my high school 30-year reunion the next night. Most of the people there looked terrific and I even remembered some of them. (I moved to a new city between my sophomore and junior year of high school, so I hope my lack of memory has more to do with so little time spent with them and not a sign of memory loss.)
Move-in weekend is a stressful time to drive in a University District in a big city. I must be old because the two late nights of little sleep and driving back and forth across the state wore me out!
- Hopefully all of that driving isn’t wearing out my minivan. She passed this little milestone on that trip:
- On my days off, I try to accomplish a few errands and take care of appointments. I’m still going to PT for my foot which is really helping. I can only hope that my insurance company will see the benefit of continuing those visits.
ANIMAL UPDATE: The dog has taken boy#4 for his very own and hardly raises an eyebrow at the cat. The cat was slowly realizing that the dog will not eat her up… until she looked out the window a few days ago and saw him running in the backyard chasing a squirrel. There went several weeks of progress… she is back to square one, walking around with ears pricked, jumping at the slightest noise. I moved suddenly a few nights ago and her tail fluffed out rather dramatically, the hair on her back raised at least an inch, and she is once again mistrustful of all of us.
I’m not quite sure if it is because I have asked God to help me to become more compassionate that I am given opportunities to practice compassion, or if it is because I am desiring to be more like Jesus in the area of compassion that I am more likely to notice opportunities to practice compassion. It’s hard to tell… but either way, I really failed today.
It was a big, noticeable failure. With witnesses.
It doesn’t matter that I was right. Being right doesn’t make it acceptable.
At the time, being right was all that I [my self-righteous Self] was interested in — not mercy, not compassion.
The Scripture quoted below is one upon which I wish to base my life. Tonight it is both my confession and my hope for a better tomorrow — a tomorrow where I will try to pick up the pieces, make peace, and do better. If my humbleness makes a difference, if mercy and compassion are given and accepted, it won’t be because of me. Part of humility is knowing Who really deserves the credit.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
~Micah 6:8 (New International Version)