My aunt is in her late 80s. While there is typically no “enough years” to any one person’s life my aunt has not been well for a long time, having suffered from several falls; cumulatively they have taken their toll. I did call this morning and we spoke for about 15 or 20 minutes, reminding each other of the love we have shared over a lifetime, talking about the ones who have gone before and our anticipated joyful reunion one day in whatever way that may happen. I shed tears because she is the last of my birth family. While I do have a half-brother who I believe to still be living, when approached several years ago he refused any contact with me – no good-bye will be needed there as there was never a hello.
In hindsight, my tears dried hours ago this, the conversation, the good-bye, indeed even the pending death, all seems normal, natural. A full life has been lived; relationships forged; a family raised; faith deepened over the long haul.
And then I came home and turned on the television. In so doing I was confronted, as has everyone hearing the news or seeing it on-line, with horrific news – yet again. Many people killed, a number of whom were children. This, unlike the normalcy of my morning call, is not normal. Normal is the usual; the regular; the natural. There is nothing about this incident that is any of that – nor was this true of the recent shooting in Oregon, nor of any of the neighborhood shootings that too often take place in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago or elsewhere.
I wish I could say I have something valuable to say, but I fear I do not. What I will offer up is a lament – the aching of my heart, the questions, the hopes, that I have. Maybe you will find something here for you.
Oh my God – O…M…G! What a day. From normal to abnormal in only hours.
We cry aloud wondering why innocent lives were taken. Why some people are allowed “all their days” and others are not. What we as a community, a nation, a world, are doing wrong…or are failing to do to keep people safe. Are you there? Do you hear the mourning sounds?
When we do not know where else to turn God we turn to you; our rock; the One who is dependable when all else is random; when nothing makes sense; when abnormal usurps the place of normal.
See the tears cascading down our cheeks. Help us to know that you do see the tears and hear our cries; that you care; that you too, are crying. Help us to trust in your care for the broken-hearted. Help us to engage in activities for good – and for change – in the midst of tragedy.
Let us ever and always give you thanks for that which is good in our lives, that when the good and the beautiful are absent, we might be sustained by past gratitudes.
Hear our prayers O God for love to rule the nations – and the streets – the neighborhoods – the malls – the movie theaters – the schools.
Let love be the norm. Amen.