Florida High School Shooting

I ran as I watched it on the TV.

As I watched an event unfold that should tear us all to pieces.

But when I looked around, I saw nothing out of the ordinary.

A few glances at the TV, then right back to lifting weights, biking or staring at a screen.

As I ran and saw the headline “Florida High School Shooting” I got angrier.

I got to the point where I couldn’t just run, watch and wait as if that would do anything for the parents, husbands, wives, mothers, daughters, brothers to these students and faculty who probably stood there stunned by what they saw.

When I realized how upset I was and I looked around, I was more angry at myself and the people around me than I was at the event.

School shootings may be more common than ever, but that doesn’t mean they should be easier to forget. Just because I’m not from Florida doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be devastated by this. Just because I didn’t know anyone personally, doesn’t mean my heart shouldn’t be shattered- and not for one second before I go back to doing my own thing.

Just because I have school, work, homework, meetings, doesn’t mean I can’t stop to recognize the devastation that is going on.

As I write this and hear laughter and conversations about other things I’m saddened. I’m saddened that a place such as a Christian university, I saw and heard of nobody taking a moment to stop what they were doing and just pray.

I’m saddened because people will see this on the news and be upset, but only as long as they want to be. Their phone will buzz and they might bring it up, but most likely, they’ll continue on with their conversation.

Lives, young lives, were lost today, and many before them in a crime that I will never understand. Lives were lost. Does that mean anything to us anymore?

As Christians, we’re told to pray about everything: Philippians 4:6.

Is that something we are committed to?

Are we so self-involved that we have forgotten how to care for our brothers and sisters that aren’t in our “bubble”? These people might be hundreds of miles away, but that doesn’t mean we should care less, pray less, listen less or love less.

I often wondered what people meant when they said Christians aren’t as unified as they could be. Now I can understand why that might be.

I hope that this article makes you feel hurt, sad and honestly convicted as I have felt. Convicted to remember that these are precious lives that in God’s eyes, are just as important as ours. None of our lives are more important than another, no matter the distance, the difference in culture, race, age, gender etc.

How much time are we willing to take away from our own lives, to think about others, to mourn, cry, hurt, pray and love with others during horrific moments like these.

I encourage you to think about these things, Christian or not. How careless are you willing to allow the society you live in, to be?

 

Forgiveness Road

Have you ever asked for forgiveness from someone? If you’re like me, you have and when you do, you expect all to be forgiven. Turn that around though, and someone asks you for it, are you ready to return it as easily as you ask for it?

When I drive to and from school, it’s about a 200-mile drive. Sometimes that drive feels endless. Sometimes I think I’m two hours in and I’ve only been on the road for 20 minutes.

Many times I wish I could fast-forward to when I arrive and I’m comfortable with the people I love and miss.

Other times, the ride flies by and before I know it, I’m 10 miles from my exit.

This is often how I feel about forgiveness. More often than not, it feels like the first example and usually with the same person, even if it was years ago.

Forgiveness has never been easy for me, and maybe it isn’t easy for you either. I won’t lie and say I’m good at it and I’m the first to extend grace because honestly, I’m not. I feel things pretty deeply, especially the hurtful things and I tend to hold on to them with a tight grasp. One that I know will end up suffocating me if I hold on for too long.

I’m sure you’ve had someone who hurt you long ago or even recently. I think we all have in some way. And despite everything in you, you cannot bring yourself to completely forgive them for the pain they caused you.

Something as simple as seeing their name on your screen can ignite all those feelings in a second. I admit that I get angry. I admit that I overreact. I admit it’s harmful to hold on to the anger, that it does nothing for me. But sometimes the passion that rises up in me is the most that I feel toward that specific person and for once it’s something different than numbing the pain.

Forgiveness is a road we all have to travel on eventually. Sometimes it’s the neverending kind where we pass exit after exit, refusing to get off and let go. Other times, it’s a road we take that leads us to the first exit where we leave and move forward.

If anyone tells you it’s easy, I would challenge that or ask them how they got to that place. If anyone tells you it will set you free, sit down and learn from them.

I look forward to the day when I can lay all the anger and frustration down. Where I can take that exit and come to peace with it all. But, unfortunately, that time has yet to come. I’m learning, and each day I’m getting closer to that exit.

Forgiveness is something we all ask for but are so reluctant to give away. Somehow it’s more important to receive than to give and I’m not sure where that began. All I know is that it ends when we take the selfless route and learn to love others just a little bit more than ourselves. But, like anything that takes time, it’s a process, don’t get discouraged by the long drive.

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)