Friday, July 20, 2012
Each second I am given... a lesson from an Aurora shooting victim
I can't let today go by without addressing the horrific tragedy that happened in Aurora, Colorado in the early hours of this morning. My heart is sick with grief for the friends and families of the victims of this senseless crime. I can't pull myself away from the news coverage. I can't stop the wonderings and wanderings of my mind as I contemplate what would lead a young man, a medical student, to randomly take so many lives. What happened to him to go from a precious innocent baby to a heartless killer in just 24 short years? How does a mind get warped that way? How much guilt must his mother feel and is it just or unjust? Is she an innocent victim, too?
Tears flow freely right now. Yet life on Twitter and Facebook seems to go on as usual. Jokes, giveaways, complaints, cute sayings... I don't get it. Remember Columbine? As a nation, we sat in front of our televisions, horrified and deeply, deeply saddened. We hugged our kids more. We worried as we sent them to school. Our hearts broke.
Since then, school shootings have continued to shock us... although, with time and number of incidents, it seems as though they affect us less and less. Since Columbine, students have died in school shootings in Georgia, Oklahoma, Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania (remember those precious Amish children?), Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alaska, Washington... the list goes on and on. Do you even remember hearing about these? And the school shootings are not just confined to the U.S. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Yemen, France, Germany, and even Finland have been affected by this evil.
Do we care? Or have we been so inundated with tragedy, that it no longer weighs on our hearts? Are we immune to the pain of our fellow human beings as they bear the unbearable... the death of a child?
I'm not trying to drag you down. Honestly, I'm not.
Actually, it was the inspiration of one of the victims that prompted this post. Jessica (Ghawi) Redfield was a beautiful young woman, full of life, who was super-excited to attend the movie last night. She enthusiastically tweeted as she waited for the movie to begin: MOVIE DOESN'T START FOR 20 MINUTES.
What makes Jessica (Ghawi) Redfield particularly noteworthy among the victims? Simply, it was her close brush with death just last month when she was at the Eaton Center in Toronto. Minutes after she left the food court, shots rung out. Had she stopped to look at a new shirt, had the cashier at the hamburger joint moved a bit slower, had she opted for sushi... any number of variables could have equaled her death at the time. The experience left her with a new appreciation for life.
Jessica wrote about this in her last blog post.
It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being n the middle of a deadly shooting. What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life...
... I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw he terror on bystanders' faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given...
Her seconds ran out. Unexpectedly. Violently. Tragically. Jessica (Ghawi) Redfield's seconds ran out.
She has lessons to teach us. Life-changing lessons we would be fools to ignore. I strongly recommend taking a few minutes to read Jessica's last blog post. Let her words, her experience, her wisdom seep into your soul, and take some time, right now, to thank God for the blessings of the people in your life. And for the blessing you are in theirs. ...each second I am given.
Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your life lesson with each of us.