I called my husband. “Rick, there’s been a shooting at a Texas elementary school. Fifteen are dead.”
I called a second time. “Now it’s 18 have been killed.”
When I hear the next report, “Twenty-one killed in mass shooting,” I cried. How does this keep happening? I pray for the families and all those involved. I crave more information. I watch all the updates for days. Then it becomes a week. Now it’s two weeks. I’ve never followed a school shooting like this before. Why am I obsessed with what happened in Uvalde? I find myself identifying with various roles.
I most identify as Grams. Years ago, I was in kindergarten class; a classroom sign read, Class of 2030. That sounds so far away. I will be so old. Today it doesn’t feel so far away. I recall my grandchildren in fourth grade. What would it be like to hear that one of my grandchildren was killed in a school shooting? I can’t even begin to comprehend the pain. There will be 19 fewer children graduating in 2030. This compels me to pray for the children’s families.
I identify as a mother. I have one daughter who teaches third grade in a rural community in California and another daughter who substitutes in a small town in Missouri. When I became a teacher in the early 80s, school shootings were nonexistent. It didn’t help when my daughter said, “Mom, everyone becoming a teacher today knows the risks. I thought about it when I chose my new classroom.” I’m compelled even more to pray for the grieving mothers.
I identify as a teacher. As a high school and college teacher for many years, I recount the many students entrusted to my care. I think of the teacher who was shot twice lying-in pain while the 10 children in his class were also shot and killed. What would it be like to lie in pain in the silence for an extensive time? I agonize with the life-long consequences of witnessing your students killed? How would I live with that even as a Christian? This compels me to pray for the teachers and the families of the two teachers killed.
I identify as a mother-in-law with a son-in-law in law enforcement. Every time I see a police car I pray for his safety and the safety of others. Law enforcement officers serve others. It appears that mistakes were made Uvalde that may have caused more loss of life. What would it be like to know that my decisions and the decisions of others prevented me from saving more lives? I’m compelled to pray for all the law enforcement involved in this shooting.
I don’t have any answers to all my ponderings. This all lays so heavy on my heart. I truly can’t comprehend the pain and suffering of all those affected by the shootings. I do know that I am compelled to pray. Compelled to pray for the community of Uvalde and for realistic solutions to preventing future mass shootings. The cost of this it too high. Way too high.
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