Saturday, December 20, 2014

There but for the grace of God, go I

My heart is breaking.  There seems to be wave upon wave of emotion crashing over me, weighing me down.

Even though it causes me anger and frustration, I cannot seem to stop watching the news.  I’m not sure what I am looking for.  It’s not like I am going to stumble across breaking news that humanity has suddenly turned a corner for the good.

I am only going to find more heartbreaking stories.

More stories of hatred and violence.

More stories of lives shattered.

More stories of husbands that will never come home.

And now there are reports of celebrations.  Two NYPD officers were sitting in their patrol car when they were gunned down execution style.  And there are people celebrating!

I watch the news and I am angry.  I see the media scrambling to place blame.  I see the story turning into a political grudge-match.  I see thousands of horrendous comments on social media praising the gunman’s actions.  It makes me sick with anger.

But more than that, I am filled with a soul-jarring sorrow.   

Because the part of the story that reaches down into the depths of my being is the part that cannot be found on the news.  It is the story of the families.  Those wives and children and mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and all the others who love those men for who they were.  The tragic story may be in the headlines for now, but the families are the ones who have to live the rest of their lives with the empty space no one else can ever fill.  

Tonight, a wife will go to bed and hug the pillow next to her that still smells like her husband.  

Tonight, a son will cry himself to sleep as he tries to comprehend that his dad will never be around to teach him how to become a man.

Tonight--the first of many such nights--the families will weep and scream until there are no more tears and their voices are hoarse, then they will weep some more.

Most people who watched the news today will go back to their normal lives tomorrow.  Within a month, many will have forgotten.  Even if this event adds more fuel to the already blazing tensions in this country, this day merely signifies another event, another story for most.  But for those families, this day will forever be that tragic, defining moment of their lives.  Everything in their lives from now on will fall into one of two categories:  before 12-20-14, or after.

Tonight, I am asking that you remember these families not just tonight, but tomorrow night and the next and the next.  I am asking that you lift them up to our Father in Heaven who sees all and who comforts us in all our troubles.  I am asking that you pray for God’s transcending peace to fill them in the many difficult days to come.

And I have one more thing to ask of you.  

I know you have heard it before, but I cannot emphasize it enough:  please go out of your way to thank a police officer, to encourage them and their families.  With all the hatred and anger and violence directed towards the police right now, a word of thanks and encouragement goes a long way.

For all of us along the thin blue line know that tomorrow the news story could be about us.