My heart is so sad. 51 lives. Human lives. Beloved children of God lives. Created in the image of God lives. And we have to include the human, beloved children, image of God people who didn’t die, because they were treated the same. I can’t even come up with a suitable metaphor for how they were treated; I don’t have words horrific enough to capture this tragedy. And yet I cannot stay silent.
I think of these people who wanted a better life so much that they were willing to risk their lives to try and attain it. How does one get to that place where such a decision makes sense? And how on earth did they get the idea that the United States is some grand place? Do they not see the news that reveals our violence and hatred toward each other? Do they not realize that we’ve commoditized human life and that life is no more valuable here than the cost of a single bullet? Do they not know that, if they make it here alive, they will have traded their known struggles for new ones?
I think of their families who don’t know the fate of their loved ones. I pray that each person who died will be identified and their family located so they can know and can grieve. I pray for those in hospital that they will be treated with dignity and respect and will find healing from this unimaginable tragedy.
I think of the people who set this up, the people who make money with the lives of others, selling lies for their own wealth and gain. I cannot comprehend viewing another human being that way. I pray they are brought to justice. I pray their brokenness is somehow healed by God’s Love. I pray that I do not damage my own soul with hatred toward them because I know this is the beginning of the descent to see others as they do.
I pray for our local, state, and national leaders that they will not make this a political issue to bolster their campaigns but they will see it for what it is, a human tragedy and respond accordingly. I’ve watched the mayor of San Antonio speak compassionately about these people and am so very grateful for his mature, responsible, humanitarian leadership in this country. It gives me hope. I pray others will follow his lead.
And I pray for all of us who are witnessing this, that we won’t let our hearts be hardened, that we won’t descend into numbness. I pray we will turn off the so-called news channels that speak of these human beings with judgement and labels and then use the time you would have spent watching to volunteer in your community in any way you are able that will help someone else. I pray we will call out our political leaders for using this tragedy for their own gain, and vote accordingly. I pray we will correct each other with loving words when we hear someone speak in judgement against these people’s desire for a better life and learn to have conversations of understanding guided by compassion.
I pray that we can see each other and everyone as beloved children of God, created in God’s image because this is how we begin to end the violence and hatred in our world. With eyes to see and ears to hear God’s Kingdom we will spread God’s Love in all that we say and do.
And as I finish praying, I walk into my day with the awareness of God’s presence that enables me to spread God’s Love. Will you do that with me?
God’s peace, my friends.