Got an e-mail this AM from my niece in Fremont, NE. She reported that her mother-in-law was at the Westroads Shopping Center during the shooting. Saw a lot, hid in a clothes rack, then in a restroom. Shaken but OK. Thank God!
Pray for the families of the victims, all of them. Pray for the parents of the shooter and for the family with whom he had been living. If people come out of war with survivor's guilt when they themselves were in harm's way, I cannot imagine what parents and friends of the shooter, Mr. Hawkins, might feel as they second-guess missed signals, missed opportunities or simply their own helplessness now. May God have mercy on them all!
The D-word. Depression. I know something of that dark monster. It is possible for the darkness to get so dark that one can be standing surrounded by light and see none of it. It is possible to get so low that one literally cannot help oneself. Thank God I have been able to get free of that and know its symptoms and warning signals. I don't ever want to be there again.
And thank God I grew up in a different time and place. Thank God I grew up surrounded by a farm with animals and a community that helped keep me in line. And thank God it was a simpler time to be alive. No Internet. No downloading files on the making of bombs. No simulated slaughter of video games. And thank God I had parents and siblings who cared deeply about me. Thank God there was such a world of fields and creeks and woods and animals of the wild to explore when I was a kid. Little did I know then how many miles of the Columbia Gorge I would hike as an adult, husband and father and how much peace I would find there in troubled times. Those life-saving respite walks kept my brain and body going. They kept my spirit going. They were God's emergency room.
I've always known that God brought me here to Portland from Nebraska and Turkey and Texas. He brought me here to keep me alive.
Last night at Advent worship we sang Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Vespers:
"Let my prayer rise before you as incense,
the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world
the light no darkness can overcome.
Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening,
and the day is almost over.
Let your light scatter the darkness,
and shine upon your people here."
Let light scatter the darkness in Omaha and in every darkened heart on this earth.
The peace of Christ be with you all!