Disclaimer: This is a personal reflection of my own thoughts from the event with the intention to raise awareness of injustice, to incite reflection, and to ultimately encourage towards love.
Do you know how scary it is to hear the words,
“Oh man, another shooting just happened.”
And notice those words roll through your mind, stealthily becoming noise before you find it lost in the midst of conversation?
That’s how I felt after hearing about the El Paso shooting.
The news didn’t register quick enough and before I knew it, it slid swiftly by.
I feel a sense of unease now looking back because I felt my conscience effortlessly find a sense of ease without a second glance.
The matter of fact.
That thought passing by.
It personally reveals a heart check moment for myself, and in the grander (yet not so grand) scheme of things, a further societal check on the world where something doesn’t feel right.
Something isn’t right.
What once felt like a unique horror and atrocity has become another news point.
For me, only after one, two… three encounters of the news rolling down my Facebook feed, mentions made in conversation, and the urgent cry of disgust and prayer evoked by friends in a group chat finally made me double-take.
Thoughtless inaction became a shocking moment of deeper reflection.
Why did I react this way?
Maybe I’m not empathetic enough. Or I just don’t care enough. Personally, I might need to seek to understand why my emotions shut off when I hear this news, and I can’t find myself wanting to be near it at all.
The thing is, it’s way harder to ignore something when it hits close to home.
I live in that state.
I’ve lived there all my life.
I have friends who live in El Paso, and are doing med school there.
Oh, how danger becomes way more present when I feel it so personally.
Like a personal attack.
And most of all, this guy who started the shooting graduated from the same high school as me.
Someone who was two years younger.
I could’ve known him. He walked the same halls I did. Took similar classes.
And consciously, carried out this atrocious act in El Paso.
And yet the shooting in El Paso doesn’t hurt deep enough. It doesn’t hurt at all.
The numbing effects of repeated tragedies have made my mind become quickly accustomed to the news.
That’s all it feels like.
How could this be? When was it that the shootings seemed to emerge and hit home in every single heart. A tragedy we took arms together in and desired to see fall.
And yet, the urgency of the tragedy has itself fallen out of our minds.
Out of my mind.
This transition of apathy was not something I wanted to happen for myself, but it has happened.
I don’t know how to feel. And yet I know how I should feel.
But instead, the numbers flip through my mind.
It hurts to actually sit on that number. One is already a lot. Five is horrendous.
That’s too much. They didn’t deserve that. No one deserves death in that way.
I don’t even want to continue thinking about it.
My eyes start to reveal a bit more of the pain my heart feels and I can’t bear it anymore.
If the pain I tasted from just a few minutes of intentional reflection was that intense, I can only imagine the hurt and grief for those directly affected by this event who cannot control the pain they face in this moment.
I can’t understand it. The brokenness of the world we live in. No matter how hard we try, to love, live and enact change, we cannot control and prevent every tragedy.
We can’t save every life, and we can’t fix every problem or injustice that the world throws out there.
It seems hopeless. And I know I should feel hopeless.
But there is something I believe that prevents my mind from clinging to that word, hopeless, and instead, cling to hope.
God’s promise that He has for those who have faith in Him through Christ reminds me that even when everything in the world fades away, God has a plan, and knowing His power, sovereignty, and ability to enact healing and grace makes me continue to fight even when there feels like there’s nothing to fight for.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
- Revelation 21:4 ESV
I cling to that truth, that one day there will be no more suffering, and we will experience true freedom and glorification in Him.
But till that day comes, there is still this life to live on this earth. Broken as it is, a life given by God to live, and live for a purpose.
The purpose of loving God and loving my neighbor. A passion to live out making disciples of all nations. A pursuit to surrender brokenness and learn how little it is about me, and how much is it all about God.
Action must be taken.
Prayer for the victims, the families and the friends who are hurt and devastated in this time.
Prayer for repentance of the shooter and healing for his family.
_ Prayer for justice in the midst of brokenness for this world.
And even for myself, prayer for a heart that breaks and feels in the same way that God feels.
There’s a lot to mourn and weep currently.
But I must press on.
Let’s continue to fight that fight. Run that race. And live, not losing hope, the life God has called.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
-my salvation and my God."_
- Psalm 42:11