“You know what, Curt? People are waking up today facing something you and I could never imagine.” When my friend Aaron said those words, I forgot nearly everything else we talked about because those words come with a clear choice. You can read them – or in my case hear them – nod your head and think, Yeah I know, or you can let those words take up permanent residence inside your heart.
I watch a lot of news; too much news. It’s my job, but that’s a cop out. I don’t have to watch as much as I do.
Last week in Virginia, a man walked up to a reporter conducting an interview on live television. He pulled out his Glock 9mm handgun and shot her and her photojournalist to death. As if taking two innocent young lives wasn’t grotesque enough, he recorded the murders on his GoPro-style camera and posted it online. This one shook me. This wasn’t just another act of violence; this one hit close to home. I spent ten years in television news and those two journalists felt like my friends.
The mistake I made was watching the video over and over again, both from the photographer’s camera and the gunman’s. I’ll bet I watched it thirty times. In the following days I retreated into a profoundly sad place. I found myself actually mourning a world that seems more and more unrecognizable to me. Not surprisingly, a few days away from the news – and that video – helped, but something else brought perspective back.
Making a sad week even sadder, a fifteen-year-old football player and wrestler at my daughters’ high school died after being shot in the head in what his family is calling an accident. When the school learned of the tragedy, a hastily planned vigil was held on the high school football field. Hundreds of students and parents knelt in prayer and in song. We saw one another – I mean really saw one another. As we sang “Amazing Grace” tears openly flowed. It’s difficult to watch as young people come face-to-face with tragedy, but my hope is that it changes the way they treat each other – the way they talk to each other.
God was on that field that night. And I thought about the words Aaron said to me: “People are waking up today facing something you and I could never imagine.”
I encourage you, whether you’re a believer or not, to open your heart and let those words take up permanent residence within you.
It’s our only hope.
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