Yesterday was one of those days where I had a doctor’s appointment. It wasn’t the normal one where I would drive 20 minutes or even 60; it was the 3 hour drive to Eugene. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I grabbed an audio book, Brian Rathbone’s Dragon Ore book 3 in the Godsland series, and was ready. The appointment was finished after an hour and a half, and I spent a bit of time at the mall and in WinCo. About 12:30 I headed back home. In my rear-view mirror, I noticed some flashing lights, but they didn’t look right. Eventually, they caught up to traffic around me and passed. Sure enough it was three unmarked vehicles with lights flashing in the rear windows with a State Police following them. Somewhere a horn honked to them. I wondered about it and went on my way. When I returned home, I found an email from my daughter’s community college giving information about a shooting at Umpqua Community College. I was in shock. That is only two hours away from home. My daughter had had her piano tests there as well as a Rotary Youth Exchange meeting.
This morning as I checked email, I saw a post to a friend’s blog called I Choose Love. I read through it and was surprised. I did not realize that the shooting at the community college was based on a profession of belief in Christianity. I did a quick Google search to get more information. My heart stopped as I realized that the life flights had flown into the same medical facility where I had had my doctor’s appointment. The caravan of officers were headed to the community college.
Around 9:00, an email came through telling us that my daughter’s college had closed the campus. Shortly after that, a school email came in saying due to a county wide threat, in the county north of us, that had been deemed invalid, we were on a lock in all day. When the message was relayed over the intercom, there was much commotion among the students. Living in a small area everyone knows everyone. Students knew about the event yesterday and details that I didn’t know. They also were concerned because a student had received a text asking if our school was a Christian school.
This whole thing was disconcerting to say the least. We live in a world where shootings happen, but they don’t happen next door to you or me. They happen elsewhere. We live in a world where Christians are singled out but not here in America. In America the debate rages about gun control and if that would help curb these shootings. However, it isn’t a gun control issue; it is a heart issue. It is a matter of what someone chooses to do with a gun. It isn’t the gun. You see despite the nice veneer we like to put on, deep down, our hearts are selfish and wicked. That is tough to say. It is only by God’s grace that we are able to love, forgive, and show kindness. It is the part of us that reflects Him that shows these attributes.
In these uncertain times, let us reflect the God-given attributes of love, kindness, and forgiveness. Let us choose love. Hug your family members tonight. Forgive those who have wronged you. Live with a clean slate. And pray for those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones, and for all those affected by the shooting at Umpqua Community College.