Saturday, December 15, 2012

At a Time Like This

I chose not to write yesterday out of respect for what has happened in our world.  While we'd never get anything done if we slowed down every time something like this happened, I felt very heavily yesterday that for a bit, we all just needed a bit of stillness.  Not necessarily stoppage, but at the very least stillness.

But time presses on, and people who - like me - cannot fathom what possesses a yesterday are looking for the answer for today and tomorrow.  And there are a lot of complicated issues floating around out there, but it doesn't have to be so hard.

It's not about gun control, or lack thereof.  It's not about making more laws about weapons (it's already illegal to open fire in an elementary school...that did not stop this man, just as the law doesn't seem to stop anyone else bent on doing such things) and it's not about more guns or arming our teachers or anything so dramatic.

It's not about locking down our schools or tightening security in our public places.  You know what?  I remember the days when our schools and churches weren't locked and didn't have to be.  When most homes weren't locked and didn't have to be.  I already lament living on lock down so far as we have to; locking down more is not the answer.

And it's not about believing in God.  I had to admit that the God-talk is more hurtful and disrespectful most times than the politics.  I'd rather hear you talking about gun control or security measures than trying to wrap faith around it with platitudes like "God has a plan for this" and "God has a plan for those children."  You know what?  God's plans were wrecked yesterday, too.  Now, He's actively reworking what He had in store for those children and those educators and yes, even that gunman.  Whatever He comes up with will be good.  He's promised us that.  But yesterday was not good.  It was not God.  It was not His plan.  Saying it was is not the healing balm you think it will be; saying it was God's plan and we just don't understand God...only means that you don't understand God.  It wasn't Him.

Then where is the answer and what do we do?

We may never have an answer, but we know what to do.  It's what millions of parents around the country and the world did last night: we hug our children a little tighter.  Then we hug our families a little tighter.  Then we hug our friends a little tighter.  Then we hug our neighbors a little tighter.  Then we hug our communities a little tighter.  We hold each other close and let love live.

Did you know that a man who knows - who honestly, truly, fully knows - unrestricted, unconditional, unbridled, abiding love is incapable of this sort of act?  Did you know that a man who understands his intrinsic value, his created worth, and is able to see that in the lives of others, as well, is incapable of this sort of thing?  Did you know that the man who pulled that trigger, and many other men and women just like him around the world, was asking questions for which this world seemed to have no answer?

Who am I?  Do I matter?  Is there anything good in me?  Is there a place for me?  Where am I?  Where am I going?  Does it matter if I get there?  Is anyone watching me?  Does anyone see me?  And on and on and on....

Love has the answer to these questions.  Love has the answer to a heart that's on the hinges, that's on the fence trying to figure out on which side of worth it comes down.  Trying to figure out on which solid ground it lands.  Without love, there is no solid ground.  There is no place to stand.  And as men, we can't float around forever.  We weren't given wings to soar; we were given feet to stand.  Every man needs a place to stand.  Every man needs to know where he stands.

The answer to yesterday is that every man know he stands on love.  

That doesn't mean preaching.  That doesn't mean door-knocking.  That doesn't mean passing out tracts.  That doesn't mean warning of the dangers of Hell.  That doesn't mean condemning.  That doesn't mean Bible-beating.

It means loving.  Just loving.  We know how to do that.  We did that last night in our own homes.  Now, let's keep love going outside our walls.

It's not going to solve the whole problem.  There will still be mental illness, which obscures love so that love doesn't seem like the answer.  (It still is, even if it doesn't seem like it.)  There will still be evil.  Even God has no mercy for evil.

But the vast majority of ills in our world are simply this: broken love.  Broken love leads to broken lives leads to broken people who break our hearts.  Pure, simple, quiet, Godly love goes a long way to healing what is aching in us today.  Pure, simple, quiet, Godly love does more for our tomorrow than anything else we could think to do.

My heart aches for the families in Connecticut who spent the night staring into the darkness and wondering what happened.  I mourn with the families who tangibly feel the void that just two days ago felt so unimaginable.  I offer them my prayers and my heart.

I cry with the children who in just a few weeks, will be going back to school.  I hope that maybe they don't go back to Sandy Hook right away but maybe take some time to adjust.  I hope that someone will step in and renovate as much of the school as is necessary for those children to learn better things in those classrooms.  For those kids to be comfortable there again.  School is magical; I long for these children to remember that.

And I wonder with my world.  I wonder what yesterday speaks for our tomorrow.  I wonder what we're going to do with these increasing headlines of our broken world.  I wonder when we are going to step up and stop all of this.  Not through politics or lockdowns or fear or whatever else seems so rational right now.

But in love. In loving hard and loving well and building a solid foundation of love where every man has a place to stand.  In holding our children, our families, our neighbors, and our communities a little closer.  In holding love high.  In living so that love, not loss, defines us.

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