I am proud of the young people in Florida. At a time when most expected them to be prone with sorrow, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School found an amazing way to redirect their anger, grief, and churning emotions. They have stood in solidarity at the state capital of Florida. They have lifted articulate trembling voices. They didn’t curl up in a ball on the floor. In a demonstration of resilience and courage they are leading the way toward change.
It has been a rough week. I have found myself pausing in the middle of something, to think about my experience in the days following the shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16. (almost eleven years ago.) A freshman student in my campus ministry at Va Tech, her roommate was killed when the college classroom erupted in gunfire. What a horrible way to begin a college career. I found myself thinking about the students who lived a couple of blocks from my home in Blacksburg. One of their housemates was killed. They honored her life by planting a tree during a solemn assemblage of some 20 friends. I’ve thought about the university department head in my former church who spent the next two years of his career rebuilding one of the more prestigious engineering schools following the death of several students and professors in his department. The trauma of 4/16 was like a stone tossed into a quiet pond. The ripples fanned out affecting many lives.
Each time a shooting occurs, survivors from Sandy Hook, Aurora, The Pulse, the congregation in Charleston, Vegas, and many more are rocked by unfathomable awfulness.
It makes me think of the familiar verse in Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf shall like with the lamb, the leopard shall like down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them”. May we hear the students and their community in Florida.