Monday, August 5, 2019

In the midst of such tragedy, what can we do?

On Saturday morning, shots were fired as a young man killed nearly two dozen people in an El Paso Walmart. As bodies hit the ground and countless people grieved, I sat several hundred miles away, my hand outstretched in prayer. My husband, myself, and four other married couples were immersed in prayer. We prayed for each other, for our children, for our marriages. We supported each other, asking God to be with us and hold us close. Tucked away in a rustic lodge in Arkansas, we were unaware of the tragic shooting in Texas-soon followed by another in Ohio. 

As I try to avoid stepping in the piles of dirt and grime that adorn the floor, as I encourage my children to rest (our time in Arkansas was joyfully full and wore them out), my mind wanders; stopping to dwell on those killed, on their families, and on those who inflicted such tremendous pain and suffering. The question arises, from my heart and from those of my fellow Americans: What can we do? We don't want to face this kind of tragedy again. We don't want more innocent lives to be lost. We don't want to live in a country where a typical trip to Walmart on a Saturday morning could be deadly. 

We're all looking for answers, for consolation, for help.

I find it so fitting that, while the country was struck with horror over the tragic shootings last weekend, twenty-two families were gathered in the Ozarks on retreat. Together, these men, women, and children prayed, relaxed, and supported each other as they sought to cultivate holier marriages and families. 

Half-baked thoughts are swirling around in the haze of my tired mind. 

It's easy to tell other people to "pray for our country," but could we step up and start praying for our country? 

It's easy to point out fingers and make sweeping statements about mental health care, but could we get ourselves into counseling or therapy and face our prejudices head-on? 

It's easy to shout online about violence and guns and politics, but could we courageously cultivate peace in our own lives and homes? 

It's easy to proclaim that marriages and families are important, but could we seek healing, reconciliation, and unity in our marriages? 

We want answers, and we want change, but all too often, we make ourselves comfortable behind screens and our usual habits...and we find ourselves unwilling to do any actual work ourselves. Friends, let's ask God for the grace and courage to be willing to do the work that needs to be done. Let's ask God to help us as we seek reconciliation in our marriages, families, and communities. 

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