This has been circulating like crazy over the past few days…stories about the school shooting that took place at a community college in Oregon this past week.
I wasn’t going to write about it because I’ve already read so many blogs that have in one way or another conveyed most of what I am feeling or thinking myself.
But, I think I owe it to those who lost their life to at least publicly acknowledge the deep, incomprehensible, reality of the choice they made.
Mostly because the more I think about it, the more I can’t even begin to put myself in that place.
I try to watch it all play out in my minds eye…
“What religion are you?”
Or, in reality, life begun.
But we just don’t see it that way from this perspective. It’s so hard. And I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be for those who are left here in this life without the ones who are now walking down the streets of gold.
I’m sure knowing that makes it easier, knowing that they’re happy and they’re in paradise and you’ll see them again and despite the absolutely gut-wrenching, nauseating, incomparable depth of pain that comes from loosing a piece of you – the pain that is all-consuming and oozing out of ever pore of your body – they don’t miss you.
They can’t miss you.
They are too consumed with an all-consuming God who created them for exactly where they are right now in this moment.
I think the most beautiful part of it all, outside of the fact that they are now in the presence of Jesus, is the fact that they lived their life on this earth with that moment in mind. And nothing took priority over their faith in that moment of meeting Jesus becoming a reality. They understood that regardless of what happens to them, they can’t loose. Their identity is in Jesus, and He beat death. What else is there? We say it all the time, but they lived it…”Oh, death, where is your sting?”
Powerless. Death is powerless. Other than the way it ushers us into the place we were truly created for so that we may do what we were truly created to do. Endlessly live in the presence of King Jesus overwhelmed with praise and adoration.
Now this side of death, well, it probably feels more like death when you’re the one left behind.
My heart is breaking. It is so crushed and so burdened for those who will never give an earthly hug to their daughter, son, brother, sister, mom, dad, etc. again. My heart is also burdened because if I’m being honest, we would all like to think (I would like to think) that we (that I) would’ve made the same choice. But when I think about watching someone say, “I am a Christian”, and then getting shot in the head, and then being asked the same question myself by the madman who did it, well, yeah. I’m not even going to pretend like I know what I would do in that moment. My spirit is of course quick to say I would’ve taken the bullet, that I would’ve bravely chosen that way too. But my flesh knows that choice probably wouldn’t of come so easily.
So, to those who are left behind: Take peace in knowing that despite how you feel like a part of you has died, that part of you has actually never been more alive. Literally. Be proud. Be so, so, so proud. They gave up the world and chose Jesus. Isn’t that ultimately what we want for those that we love? Especially our children. Unnatural as it is for them to leave this earth before you do as their parent, a full, long, healthy life with everything this world has to offer is nothing without Jesus. They got it right, friends. They chose the bullet. They chose life.
My heart is overwhelmed with respect and adoration for my brothers and sisters that were so brave, so bold, so humble.
I am grieved, but mostly I am inspired. I am moved. I am convicted.
And I hope that in the midst of your grieving, you are overwhelmed with the beautiful reality that in the moment they chose death, they actually chose life. And despite the pain that you are going through on this side of it all, a pain that no one would wish upon their worst enemy, a pain that is so real and so deep and needs to be acknowledged, despite all of that, they’ve never been more alive than they are right now in this moment. They are heroes. Heroes receiving their crown at the throne of The King. May we honor them, celebrate them, and be inspired by them. Those who chose the bullet, those who chose Jesus, those who chose death, but really chose life.