This horrific loss of innocent life at the hands of another human being is beyond our ability to comprehend. Why would someone intentionally commit such an atrocity?
I'm referring, of course, to the unimaginable massacre of 59 souls in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday. Well over 500 husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, co-workers were deliberately injured by the methodical plotting of a madman.
And the cry of sorrow has rolled out over our nation and around the world. We're all calling over the catch in our throats that one word, "WHY?!"
There still is no known motive behind the actions of this evil and there will never be a reason.
My purpose is not to dignify this atrocity with some attempt at explanation. But I do want to continue to ask the question, "Why?"
WHY - did a young husband make a split-second assessment of the danger then react by throwing his own body over his wife becoming a human shield?
WHY - did another man stop while fleeing the carnage in order to help others over a fence before leaping to safety himself?
WHY - did a lady intentionally pull her car to the edge of the danger and urge strangers to throw their bleeding bodies into her pristine vehicle so she could drive them to a hospital?
WHY - did scores of first responders rush toward the open area where death was raining down?
WHY - did a man with family risk his life in order to knock down a door, knowing full well the shooter was garrisoned behind it?
WHY - did countless others react with valiant heroism while one coward worked toward destruction?
My response may perplex some.
Those who chose valor on Sunday night did not do so because we're all basically good at our core. Quite the opposite is true. We all have the potential for evil to rule in our hearts.
That's why actions of darkness are so terrifying. Each one is like a mirror offering a faint glimmer of what we can be if not properly governed. (Don't stop reading, there's hope ahead.)
Here's the good news - while one man had no appreciation for human life, thousands of others sensed the divine spark in those around them and worked to preserve what they recognized and valued. They chose life and offered their own frightened, quivering hands as an assist to others desperate to live.
A writer I often read had the experience of watching with sorrow as his dearest friend offered himself, a human shield to save others. He wrote about the experience like this, "Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend."
Beautifully said, don't you think?
There is so much uncertainty in this world. Our children and grandchildren are growing up in a society our grandparents could never have fathomed. Who can be sure of anything?
But in all the chaos there are still a few anchoring truths:
- I'm SURE - Love wins out over hatred in every face-off!
- I'm SURE - My own choices/actions matter! Choosing to serve others keeps the evil of selfishness at bay in my life and makes me, instead, a carrier of hope.
- I'm SURE - Life is a gift which needs to be enjoyed and lived fully...not fearfully!
- I'm SURE - Real life is found in the actions of that One hero from 2000 years ago. The One who laid down His life in exchange for yours and mine, dear friend.
One short hour before darkness exploded out the windows on that 32nd floor, the crowd gathered below was awash in light. 22,000 people held up the lights on their cell phones waving them and singing in unison, "God Bless America."
Such irony. And yet, how fitting.
For all our differences and disagreements as countrymen, we know deep in our hearts, God is the singular Hope for our nation and our world. It's His divine spark breathed into us that calls us each to a higher level of living. He alone can shield us from the death brought on by selfishness (sin).
As Frank and I sat silently watching the first reports roll out, we were too dumbstruck for words. After the first story of a hero who stepped up to help another, I turned to my husband and quietly whispered, "You're that kind of man. You would help others in a situation like that."
He whispered back, "I would certainly hope so."
We all wonder how we would react. But I'm confident of how Frank would respond because it's his habit. I've watched for 38 years as he has put selfishness aside and offered himself to help others over the fences of impossibility.
Simply put, he doesn't belong to himself. Many years ago he chose to live the life offered by the Greatest Friend and that choice has made all the difference.
Do you know that to be true of yourself, dear reader? Have you chosen LIFE? Have you decided to be a carrier of HOPE as you journey forward?
It's my desire to offer a spot of joy today in this sea of sadness. After reading, I hope you'll do the same.
God bless us, every one.