Some people have been wondering why I haven’t written about the shooting yet that occurred right in my backyard at Marysville Pilchuck High School. I’ve wondered that myself.
But something like that–well, it’s safe to say that it froze my hands on the keyboard.
What do you say about something like this?
The place I took swimming lessons for four years, the auditorium I danced in in two recitals, the bleachers I sat in during some away games, the place where handfuls of my friends passed through those halls over the years. Marysville. Right next door. Basically home.
I couldn’t write about it for some time because I didn’t know what needed to be written. The news stations were covering who was shot and where they were at. Twitter feeds and news feeds were doing their fair share of political commentary about guns. Bloggers were having a heyday as usual. And there I was, not knowing exactly what to say.
My fourth grade teacher’s daughter was one of the students who ran and cowered for shelter when the shots rang out in the cafeteria. The day after it happened she said that she saw a rainbow right over the school–this rainbow right here–and even a rainbow over the hospital where some of the victims were sent. Suddenly I knew what needed to be said that hasn’t been quite yet.
(Both photos credited to KIRO TV, Seattle)
God is near.
It’s a gutsy thing to write when children are crying and war is across the sea and parents are struggling now to see their kids get on a school bus. It’s a gutsy thing to say in a world that cries out, “What God would allow this?!”
Because, let’s face it. We’ve all thought it. So did I.
Evil exists. Sickness exists. And the news will continue to tell us that it’s just getting worse.
But the rainbow. It reminds us.
It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy there is something to be found that brings light back into darkness. There are kids who suddenly learn early lessons about hate–and decide to do whatever it takes to show that instead they can love.
It reminds us that in our grief we aren’t alone. And that we won’t let others be alone in theirs.
It reminds us that we’re given a new day to rebuild, even if it’s the smallest of steps every day.
It reminds us we can forgive with time–and become all the better for it.
(Tweets from hospitalized victim Nate Hatch)
It reminds us of so much–all of us something different I think, according to what we need.
The world isn’t getting better. And it won’t. That was never promised. And as much as people try we can never completely stop kids from killing kids or soldiers losing their limbs in war or villages in foreign countries going without water. We’ll try and we’ll cry for it and we’ll help as much as we can but in the end we’re going to face the brutality of mortality and we’re going to have to find joy and find love anyway.
We’re going to have to keep spotting the rainbows.
My heart hurts alongside those who heard the shots ring out and those who ran home to their children that day. My heart is in the ICU with those who still fight and with the family of the boy who decided there was no other option. In one of the saddest scriptures of all time we hear the Lord speaking about tragedy such as this and how it even hurts his own heart.
“Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
“And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood” (Moses 7:32–33).
So where do we turn? What do we write about? Where do we go from here?
I fail to have the right words even though I wish I did. I fail to have a perfect outline to follow or some beautiful way of telling people we’ll get through even this. As a writer–that’s frustrating.
BUT when words fail we turn to the little things that remind us that there is still beauty. There is still good. There is still hope.
That’s why He sent the rainbow.