24 Hours to Cope

Two nights ago, I was winding down playing NBA 2K18. I hopped on Twitter for a spell and I saw there was an active shooter situation in Las Vegas. For some reason the words “active shooter” didn’t click. I kind of dismissed it and went to bed. The next morning I woke up to read 50 people had been killed and 400 plus have been injured.

I was thinking about writing on the tragedy of this situation. I had several ideas on how I wanted to approach this piece. I even talked it out with some co-workers. My thoughts changed when, I found out that a high school classmate, Andrew Gudmunson, got shot twice in the attacks. He’s since had surgery and was in critical condition for a time. I was shocked to say the very least.

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Life just became real. This hit home.

Usually in North Dakota, we are sheltered from a lot. We hear about the tragic events that happen across the country (i.e. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, etc…). We empathize with others because we are a loving and caring people. However, it’s rare that one of these disasters personally affects us.

How do you deal when life smacks you in the face like this?

I briefly spoke to a friend and we came to the conclusion that we can’t wrap our heads around this whole thing. I fought back tears trying to process everything. This one is just too real. The crazy part is that I’m not really close with Goody. If we see each other, then it’ll be warm hellos. Maybe some catch up conversation. Nothing huge, though. Just nice to see one another is doing well. If I’m choking back tears, then I can only imagine how his family and close friends feel. Thinking about this made me realize love extends further than we think.

At the end of the day, we are all people. We live. Laugh. Love. Hurt. Cry. We get angry. Frustrations may overwhelm us. We wonder why. Yet and still, we persevere. We fight. We pick up. We press forward.

It’s been a full day since the horror of the Las Vegas shootings. I’ve had a flood of thoughts and questions race through my mind. Hearts are broken. Sadness abounds. In all of this, there is hope. In the words of Maya Angelou, still I rise. Or should I say…

Still we rise.

America, it’s time for us to lay aside the petty differences that divide us each day. It’s time we start seeing each other as one big family instead of opposition. At the end of the day, you are my brother/sister. I want the best for you even when we don’t agree. Regardless of differences, love has to abound.  We are living, breathing human beings fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. We must treat each other as such everyday, and not allow tragedy to serve as a reminder of our love for one another.

I’ve had 24 hours to cope. You know what? I think we’ll be just fine, America. I think we’ll be just fine.

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