oh las vegas. the deadliest mass shooting in modern america?
i am just so sorry.
we are just so sorry. for all those wounded, for all those so wrongly murdered. violence creates innumerable ripple effects of pain. to speak as if i understand the torment would be both naive & insensitive. i weep as i think about the sheer terror so many felt this morning when they woke up to discover their daughter, son, husband, wife, sister, brother, or friend was...gone.
may god be near in the aftermath.
it was never supposed to be like this.
oh stephen paddock.
i am just so sorry. how long you must have lived in your own inner torment of despair. how long you must have believed you were worth nothing. that your life was worth nothing. that those 50 people's lives meant nothing.
maybe your act of hatred was your ultimate manifestation of your self-hatred. maybe you just wanted america to hate you as much as you hated yourself. i am so sorry we didn't intersect you sooner & let you know just how loved & important you are.
it stands true:
wounded people wound people.
& today, it has never been more important for the followers of jesus to look—to hunt—for the lonely & hurting & let our hearts break as we co-suffer & pour out every once of love & value upon those who are suffering so deeply that they have even given up on themselves.
yes, wounded people wound people,
but if we claim to follow the Wounded Healer himself then are we not beckoned to be like him? are we not summoned to be interceptors of pain like him? isn't that what christ's life was ALL about?
"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering" isaiah 53:4
if you are a follower of christ reading this...let me gently remind you (as i remind myself)...this is the very work we are called to—to entangle our hands & hearts with those who are barely hanging on. we are called to love the stephen paddocks.
now is the time for christians to say "yes" to heartbreak. now is the time to allow our hearts to crack & burn for all the pain swirling around us in the world. i wish i could say this is the brave path i've been walking. but i confess: i have been camped out on the sidelines of the suffering world. i have been reveling in my own comfort & safety. because that is a luxury i have. but those scarred in las vegas? no, they don't get that luxury. & when i was a 16 year old reading a bible for the first time in my purple bedroom, my life was changed by this truth: jesus gave up ALL his luxuries for the sake of love.
i am still young & i know little of profound grief but one thing i am sure of is: the lord weeps with me, with us. & if you happen to be one of the ones wrecked by this tragedy...the lord weeps with you. your loved ones blood CRIES out to god. i believe you have all the space in the universe to grieve, lament, & curse anything + everything. your pain is valid, deep, & incomprehensible. no words will ever be enough.
"The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." genesis 4:10
"Through compassion it is possible to recognize that the craving for love that people feel resides also in our own hearts, that the cruelty the world knows all too well is also rooted in our own impulses. Through compassion we also sense our hope for forgiveness in our friends' eyes and our hatred in their bitter mouths. When they kill, we know that we could have done it; when they give life, we know that we can do the same. For a compassionate person nothing human is alien: no joy and no sorrow, no way of living and no way of dying..
Jesus' whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God's love. Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there...
In short: Who can take away suffering without entering it?” - Henri Nouwen
may we not ask: how could he do that?
may we beg: lord show us the stephen paddocks before it's too late. lord lead us to the weeping. lord teach us to make a home in the land of the suffering.