Friday, December 28, 2012

staying with me

I am still thinking about the school shooting.

I think most of us have events or books or understandings that stick. When I was in seventh or eighth grade I read The Diary of Anne Frank and curled up on my bunk bed crying because  Anne was never going to be a teacher. One summer during college, I was driving and heard the news about the mom who drowned her kids in the bathtub and I parked in front of the library and screamed.

And now I think about the shooting and the families and friends waking and eating breakfast or not eating breakfast and walking through their grief and falling asleep or not falling asleep. I listen to and read debates about what this means for the country and gun control and gun culture and violence and mental health provisions and school security and media coverage. Early in the reporting, when everyone but the NRA was eager to say something about Newtown and what this means, I heard Huckabee's quote linking the removal of God from public schools and the trail of shootings.

That almost undid me.

It's difficult to explain exactly why that viewpoint made me angry and sad at once. First, I believe God is present. I don't think legislation alters where God exists.

But that quote also needled another thought: the United States is not a wholly (or holy) Christian nation. Some of its first citizens loved God and sought His will, but not all. And some of the people living in the US now also love God and seek His will, but not all. There are many different faiths and while politicians may legislate morality, they cannot legislate a single faith. And Christians should understand that, because their faith is a walk, a journey, a run, a trek, a crawl, a climb that is innately personal and profound.

That personal faith spills into everyday life when Christians live what they believe right where they are. They are in office cubicles and board meetings and truck stops and college registrars and newspapers and banks and police stations and hospitals and coffee shops and department stores. And they are in schools. So God's love is being lived out in our world.

And God's love isn't lost because kids in public schools don't start their day with a prayer. God is bigger than that.

So I have been thinking about the Newtown victims and praying for their families and friends and neighbors in the community who hold close the sorrow and loss, will hold that sorrow for a long time yet. And I have been wrestling with my own unfinished what this means issues. Shortly before the Sandy Hook shooting, I was standing at the window looking out at the desert and Gulf and the apartment buildings between and I had a little heart cry: How do I live here? Here in Kuwait, but also here in this world. And I sensed God saying to simply walk close to him. Love him. Seek him. I complicate things and I want definitive answers about what this means but right now I also want to simply walk close to my God.

When I feel overwhelmed by sadness about the shooting and the young victims, I tell myself it is okay to feel sad for people I have never met, for a situation that isn't mine. And then, I think carefully about how to pray. Sometimes I pray for a specific family when their child's face comes to mind. Sometimes I pray for peace.

I can't write more without crying.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I read this at work, and I do have one thing to say about people. What we do day to day is one thing. The stuff people see. God looks on the inside. Our thoughts, and all that stuff.

So what we show in our life is one thing, but we are soooo much more than that. People don't really know that about us, but It is still there and still seen.

Oh, and I was lazy after work yesterday, and didn't do my project. Also didn't even take out the garbage out today. :) I am the worst, but it is cold outside.

Hope you have a great weekend. :)