One of the best things that happened to me this summer is the gift of a wicker hanging swing chair. We keep it in our backyard and it has quickly become one of my favorite spots, to sit slow and spend some quiet time in prayer.
I have to admit, I find myself a bit surprised that our backyard has now become one of my favorite spots, because for a very long time it was one of my least favorite areas of our home, that is, until I had an attitude change.
I tell myself this as I am distressed and stressed, tears stream down while I try to type words and a pit in my stomach all of this day long.
The day after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S history.
I think of those who died, many who were so young, scared, texting their Mama’s knowing they were going to die, just to say I love you one more time.
It could have been my loved one, texting me one last time, hostage in a bathroom, knowing they were going to die.
I don’t know much, but I do know this one thing and I grasp hard onto it, clinging even as my stomach tightens. I know this.
In the end, love wins. Evil loses.
I type that and I have to stop, eyes clinch shut tight and lump in my throat comes up and erupts and I wipe the overflow and my heart feels like it is breaking and I wonder again about those Mama’s whose hearts are in pieces over last texts.
I remember when another massacre happened, the Von Maur shooting, the day my little sister once again became my hero. She was working there that day. She knows what it is to hear shots that make your heart stop and race simultaneously. She knows how everything stops but it doesn’t and you have to act and you just do, you just act and react. She gathered customers into a storage closet and hid and acted heroic. I think of the many who acted heroic in Orlando yesterday that did or didn’t have the same outcome as my sister. She ended that day thinking of a precious man whose smile & greeting met her that morning and most workday mornings, who even at that hour was lying at the bottom of the escalator, a smile and greeting snuffed out by evil. She mourns and then heals. She believes that evil does not win.
I remember that day, being ushered to a room where families wait. Some had news, some didn’t. Some were in the middle of receiving the worst news possible. I remember a woman eyes wild, clinging to my arm, begging me to tell her if her own sister was ok. Had I heard? I had no answers for her, just eye contact & a connection. We were two wondering about our sisters, mine lived hers didn’t. The next time I saw this dear woman was on the news, walking behind a casket, her sister’s funeral televised. I think about how without deep love there is not deep mourning. I think about how very, very deep her love was as her shoulders shook while walking behind a casket.
Last night I needed to write articles but my thoughts were low and words would not come so I turn on Netflix to pick up where I left off. I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy, old seasons that I had stopped watching back in the day when hospitals & trauma became a very real part of my life. I am six years out and blessed enough to be able to watch once again. I press play and it is an episode about a mass shooting and I watch actors dressed as nurses and doctors playing a horror that nurses and doctors in Orlando just lived out in early morning hours. I thought how they continue to live it even now as day 2 and day 3 are often critical after surgery. My mind can’t wrap around what I’m watching– that it is real in Orlando and I think about pushing pause, but I keep watching, because I want to feel, I want to be a part of love winning.
I wake up today and read the names & look at faces. I go about my day with names and faces in my mind & carry them in my heart as I grocery shop & do the mundane. I slight smile at mangos that are just ripe enough at a great price & marvel at the sweet scent of a pineapple not yet broken into. I try to find joy in the mundane despite a heavy heart, for this is another way for love to win. Evil will not steal our joy, hope, smiles or sweet scented moments of life. Even if those moments are memories.
Mid-day I look for more faces to go with the names, because love remembers. Love mourns with those who mourn.
I watch to let others’ pain sink in, to join in their pain and know how to pray, to let it in deep and I think…would I be faithful in prayer without pain? I want to feel others pain. I want to have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that cares enough to stop for a moment and just listen and absorb, to mourn with and feel with. I want to enter into pain with others because this is what love does.