It amazes me how instantaneously people are able to articulate thoughts and emotions concerning a particular situation and how quickly they are to publish their conclusions for the world to read via Twitter or Facebook. Within hours of the shooting, I read opinions on everything from handgun legislation to government conspiracy theories to the way mass media affected the dissemination of information in the aftermath.
I confess, I was not able to adequately pen (type) my own thoughts in that amount of time. I don't know if I am able to now.
I've concluded that my main problem with writing on this is that normally, I like to have neat posts. The intro kind of cutely leads into the body, where I examine some topic, and then I nicely wrap it up with a cute reference to the beginning.
Ya'll, I do not have a cute ending planned for this post.
I'm mostly just sad.
This shooting has resonated with me in perhaps the oddest way that any shooting has in recent history. My sadness in response to it has caught me off guard a bit.
When Columbine happened, I was in ninth grade. I was in high school. I understood. My brother and I formulated escape plans in our own building on the way to school in the morning in case a copy-cat situation occurred. I felt very connected to that situation.
When Virginia Tech happened, well, there are still no words. I started writing a blog post on the anniversary of this shooting a few months ago, and still am unable to finish it. I am a Hokie, through and through. I love my school and at the time, I still had many friends on campus. It was scary and it was heartbreaking. I went straight home from work, put on sweatpants, sat on my couch, and cried for days. It made sense that I was affected. Virginia Tech was my home.
But this is different.
This shooting feels so generic. By this I mean, it's not a specific school with its own set of bullying or social issues. It's not a person out to seek revenge on a place that has wronged him in the past.
This is a movie theater. A plain, old, run-of-the-mill place where sweethearts go on dates to hold hands in the dark and parents take their kids to be transported to a place of fantasy. This movie theater is anywhere.
This attack obviously should not feel quite as personal as the others. It's not my age group and it's not my school.
And yet, in some ways, it feels totally and completely more personal than any of the others. What I mean is that due to the nature of the randomness of the attack, it literally could have been anyone in that movie theater. It could have been my brother, or my cousin, or my brother's best friend, or all three of them together. It could have been my husband with our entire youth group. In 13 years, it could have been my daughter.
I don't like this. I don't like any of this.
This truly is a time and a circumstance, where I have to rest entirely on the sovereignty of God.
I apologize for the Christian jargon. By this I mean, in trying to wrestle through these issues and the ensuing difficult questions, I have no other option but to allow myself to be comforted, to find peace, to sort this out, in the truth that the God I believe in is a good, loving God, that he has full control of all circumstances, and that therefore, he works all these circumstances out for his own good.
I think there are things that we will experience in life, both on a personal level and on a societal level, that we will never be able to fully explain or understand. I think there are things that we will never have a clue about.
And yet, the Lord knows. And he is good. And he is loving. And that has to be enough.
This is the tension of living the Christian life. Its the conflict between the human desire to want to know, name, categorize, and ultimately fix every situation ... and the deeper understanding that oftentimes things are out of our hands.
It's continuing this train of thought to again recognize that it is better for crazy situations to be in the hands of a good, loving God, rather than in our own.
It is again remembering who God is, and who we are in comparison. And it is again, finding security in these roles.
God's sovereignty does not always answer our questions exactly as we would have them answered, and yet, if God is good, and loving, and in control, then not having perfect answers to every question has to be okay as well.
Lesson Learned: Even this seems a bit simplistic, but it's the best I have.