I remember when the Aurora shooting happened. I had been in Colorado for three weeks and I woke up to sound of my phone going off over and over again. I looked at it and saw a missed call from my mom and messages from friends back home all asking me if I was okay and to call them back.
My mind was groggy from sleep and confusion when I decided to google 'Colorado news,' and within seconds I was filled in on the horror that unfolded just a few hours earlier. During a midnight viewing of The Dark Knight Rises a gunman opened fire in a packed theater and killed 12 people and injured 70.
Most people I know, people barely old enough to rent a car by themselves, have had similar experiences. They've gone to bed in a seemingly normal world and woken up to the news that another shooting had occurred; this time at an elementary school, or in a night club in Florida or at a music festival in Las Vegas.
The news is crippling.
Within 15 minutes of waking up on Monday morning I read about the news of what happened in Las Vegas and for a moment I couldn't breathe. All I could do was sit in my bed and pray. Pray to the God of the universe, the one that made the sun and the moon and all of the stars...the one who made Stephen Paddock and every person he killed.
I asked him to give us grace for the horrible things that we do. I asked him to bring peace to our country and to our world. I prayed for Paddock's family and I prayed for the families of every person affected. I prayed for my family and Patrick and his family and all of my friends and colleagues and students.
Then I sat in my bed and stared at the wall in silence.
This stuff is real and it's intense and it's heavy. I was in a funk the entire day on Monday because I didn't feel right talking about seemingly trivial things and enjoying coffee and good food while people were trying to find out if their loved ones were alive.
It seems like The Assault Rifle Chronicles are a never ending series in our nation. Each episode slightly different and more disturbing than the one before, yet fitting perfectly in with the theme of the season. Each act has a different writer and a new cast but they all face the same fate, each event ending in the same blood spilling way.
Now more than ever I believe that we need more than just empty statuses and seemingly disingenuous prayers. We need mobilized communities, people who love their children and their fellow human beings more than their guns. A nation that invites God into the mix not only after a tragedy but during the mundane and the boring, the happy and peaceful.
Jesus come and embody love for us, because at the end of the day it's love that will turn this upside down world on it's feet again. It's when we start loving people more than we love our rights and start putting their lives and souls before amendments that I believe we'll start to see a change of tide.
I don't know all the answers but I do know that as a writer and an educator and a follower of Christ, I feel like it's my duty to join the conversation. Actually, not JUST join the conversation but to love harder and to care for others on a deeper level and to reach out to the lost and hurting more than I ever have before.
There are too many people in this world that are hurting for us to waste time debating or fighting about ideals and beliefs. It's time to love and it's time to love in a real and tangible way, in a way that prioritizes health and safety and uses common sense.
May the Assault Rifle Chronicles come to an end in my lifetime. May my children and my grandchildren not grow up in a world where shooter drills are taught to students in kindergarten. In a world where concerts and movie theaters are no longer safe and churches no longer sacred. May we tell a new tale, one of love, one of Christ and one of people waking up to a world more peaceful than the one they said goodnight to.
Sending you all so much love and light. Xoxo!
P.S. You can text RESIST to 50409 and if you give them your name and zipcode they'll connect you with your state senators. You're then able to compile a message that, all through text, you're able to have faxed to those senators! Let me know if you need an idea of what to write or if you want to share the letter you sent!