I had a highly anticipated (by me) post set to go out to you this week but, in light of the recent events, the timing doesn’t feel appropriate. That piece can wait because today and this week my mind is on Las Vegas.
You may have seen my initial response to the shooting posted on social media. I’m trying to be really intentional about living into my words, leaving the house with a real awareness of who is around me and how I am helping them to feel seen and respected. I met a new neighbor while walking my dog and played a riveting game of “No, You Go!” in line at the grocery store the other day. This certainly isn’t some magical cure to the violence in our country, but big change can grow out of little movements by individuals living intentionally in their communities.
I don’t have any brand new thoughts to offer in the wake of yet another mass shooting in our country. I imagine that what I say here is similar to what I would have said after any one of the several previous mass shootings.
Well, then why say anything at all? There’s a quote from an unknown source that says, “What if this fear caused the makers to stop making and the singers to stop singing and the lovers to stop loving . . . that would be another tragedy.”
So I keep putting words to the page with the hope that musicians are still playing, painters are still painting, and photogs are still photographing even though the world can feel scary. Whatever it is you have to offer with kindness and generosity, we need it now. We need passion and creativity, even if none of us know exactly where to begin.
On Monday night, my husband came home from a week-long work trip. I had been excited for him to be back because I like him and, also, he kills any bugs that get into our residence. By the time he came home, however, the news about Vegas had seeped into my bones over a number of hours and the reality that so many people across the country were now without their loved one felt all too real to me.
He could not have come home. I worry about his safety on the road every time he travels, but there’s this whole other threat that we are all vulnerable to. We’ve seen it happen in our schools—elementary through college—and in shopping malls. It’s happened at concerts, workplaces, churches, restaurants, nightclubs, and even in a movie theater. None of us are exempt from the possibility of being a victim in a mass shooting. They’re taking place in the most typical places at the most unexpected moments when we feel safe, when we’re having fun, or both.
This is more than any of us really wants to process. And yet, moments like these, in the wake of Vegas, may lead us to consider our own vulnerability to domestic terrorism. Do we need a little control in regards to guns in our country? I’d say that’s long overdue, and I know the parents of the kids who went to Columbine or Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook agree.
And, I’m aware that we live in a terribly fallen world. Which is why, as I shared on Monday, we need to be bearers of light. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness;” Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
So here’s what I did this morning: I began by opening up all the blinds in my home, even in the rooms I won’t be spending time in today. It might sound silly, but I want to let all the light in, figuratively and literally. When the sky turns dark and the daylight is no more, I’ll turn on the lamps. And if the electricity goes out and the darkness takes control, I’ll light some dang candles. Because my home will be a place that hosts—and even demands—the light. It will be a place where we choose and fight for light over darkness, kindness over cruelty, and God’s peace over my anxiety. When it starts in our home, it can filter out to how we choose to behave in the world with others.
Things certainly need to change in our legislation. As we move towards that with our votes and, without a doubt, our patience, I don’t want the darkness and fear to be bigger than the light and hope. I don’t want to feel afraid of what is more than I feel the hope of what can be. So I’m choosing light, and I hope you’ll choose it with me. I hope you’ll open up all of the blinds and let light flood all of the rooms in your home, flushing out the darkness. We’ll open our curtains and blinds with the confidence of someone who is not going to begin this new day in fear. And then we’ll leave our well-lit homes to be bearers of light to those in our neighborhood who may also feel the fear and darkness growing.
Jesus says He is the Light but He also empowers us to be the light of the world. That might not sound like enough right now, when evil has stunned us and taken from us, but the light wins; in the end, the Light wins. I wholeheartedly believe it’s worth fighting for.
We get to choose if darkness or light dominates—in our homes and in our hearts—and abundant life is found in the light.