Allowing Our Hearts To Break

As I sat down to write this week’s encouragement for our newsletter, the news of the school shooting in Texas came through.

Like each of you, my heart and mind drown in sorrow as the immense loss and pain of the Uvalde, Texas community (about the size of Ashland) and the families of children who were killed.

It is senseless, evil, and heartbreaking. As a father picking up three of my kids from elementary school when this news broke, I cannot imagine the immense pain the parents are feeling.

I want to give words that help make sense of horrible events like this or bring peace to our hearts as we feel the waves of fear and confusion wash over us, but as I have learned in my journey with grief, there is no way to make sense of something so senseless and to try and do so is incompatible with healthy grief. It is better to embrace the absolute absurdity than inflict religious platitudes upon something so wicked and devastating.

Maybe tomorrow, I will have more capacity or clarity on how to respond? Perhaps tomorrow, there will be clarity and cohesion on ending this type of senseless killing?

But for us, for today, what can we do?

  • Allow our hearts to break.
  • Don’t peel ourselves away from feeling and carrying these families and this communities’ pain, grief, and loss.
  • Put down our phones and step away from the news cycle that wants to push this from our hearts with whatever is “next on the news.”
  • Fight the urge to retreat to the well-formed political battle cries and foxholes.
  • Sit with it, feel it, and call out to God in the midst of it.
  • Intercede for the families and their community.
  • Make your heart a target to receive and release compassion and empathy, and stand as willing change agents in our communities, families, and schools.
  • Ask God, “what can be done?” “What can I do, what can we do, to prevent this evil from visiting another community?”

Kate and I love you all. We are thankful to be a part of this Living Waters community. On a day like this, we are infused with renewed energy to see people follow Jesus out from the darkness, confusion, and pain that ensnares and coaxes them to inflict pain and death on the most vulnerable and innocent.

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A powerful way to embrace lament is by engaging in corporate or communal sorrow. While we understand that grieving is often a very private road, if we do not feel like we are a part of a community that sees and invites us to share or articulate our grief as best we are able, our grief process won’t be private, it will be lonely and isolating.

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