Last night William prayed over Orlando. Death is a normal topic for my three year old. Which is a tragedy in and of itself. But I explained a bad guy hurt many people in our city, and lots of people will be missing their “daddies” like us. He responded with, “He broke Orlando.” I continued to tell him that Orlando and these people are strong like us, but that we should pray for Jesus to be with them. William prayed with such empathy and at his core believed he was making a difference. I’m learning my role as a parent isn’t to shelter my children from the knowledge of the horrible things that happen. I have come to accept even if I try, sorrow will fill our home and city despite our efforts. My role is to tell them about Jesus, the ultimate super hero. To fill them with hope, a deep desire for change, and the courage to know we can create change- even with our small evening prayers. To raise a generation that isn’t unaware. Because the reality is, these aren’t far off tragedies. And I don’t have the answers to how we can control these horrible things from happening. But we can control our response. We can teach our children to be the light in the midst of the darkness. Pretending the darkness doesn’t exist, only creates more of a shadow. We can love people we don’t understand. We can pray for eyes to see struggle. We can listen to others stories. We can choose to delete hateful comments we type on social media. We can grab the groceries of someone struggling. You can fix the sink of a young widowed mom. Or dance with an elderly man who misses his favorite joy. We can reject apathy. We can make a change. Our children can make a change. But only when we acknowledge the darkness and are catapulted into the light because of it. Don’t dull down the tragedy to lessen the ache, use it to light a fire that cannot be extinguished.
As the boys nap I sit here with tea, watching the news. But it’s just passing me by. I think how one death alone had such a huge impact on so many lives. And these were 50 plus connected lives. Lives taken by terrorism and hate in OUR city. This isn’t some far off attack. This is home. And that’s hard to process. I am again at my knees in prayer. I’m angry. I’m sad. And I can’t quite understand why the world must be this broken. Why fear and tragedy surround us. Why we must explain these things to our children. How they aren’t rare anymore. They are happening right down the street. But I hold tight to little glimmers of hope, a God who speaks with the most beautiful sunsets. And I am reminded again that one day it will all be reconciled. Kingdom come. This is our city beautiful! Love has already won.