When tragedy strikes, in any form, we all take stock of life.
This week is no exception. It began with happy moments for my heart. Yet on February 14, 2018 I viewed high school students and families in Parkland, Florida experienced fear, pain, anger, death. All of us across the country feel it with them.
Many have spoken eloquently on the matter. Others have spoken politically. Where am I gifted? I want to speak hopefully.
God allows us glimpses of hope so we won't give up. So we remember He has moved in dark times past and will continue to stir His love in the hearts of people, despite this sin-falled world.
Everything that brought me joy up until hearing that news on Wednesday still needs to be shared. So I will. Because these experiences give me faith and hope in humanity:
• Squeals of laughter ripped through the night as twelve 12-year-olds played capture the flag and sang karaoke to celebrate my kiddo's birthday. Still innocent—yet becoming aware; these young lives are on the verge of stepping into a larger world this fall as they enter 7-12th grade high schools. It warmed my heart to see their joy, energy, and kindness.
• The troop of sixth grade Girl Scouts I co-lead are at an age where the strain of determining who they are and where they fit in sometimes turns into snarks and jabs at a moment's notice. But on Monday I saw teamwork, ideas, and service. It made me proud. Our troop fixed a meal for fire fighters and police officers. (Shoutout to the St. Bernard Fire Department for partnering with us.) The first responders we were honoring were so gracious and fun. They truly enjoyed the meal our girls served, had great conversations with them, and even gave them Valentines candy in return.
• I don't know how many requests a Broadway star might get on a weekly basis. But when I sent out word that a friend and fan of Come From Away could use some lifting up, one of the lead actors immediately stepped up in a big way. She took time out of her week to go above and beyond my request and filled my friend's heart and mailbox with words and gifts of encouragement.
• Walking into a new place is always intimidating, but especially so when it's a burgeoning skill you're trying to develop and everyone else is experienced. I saw a couple of teenagers go out of their way to make my daughter and other newcomers feel welcome and comfortable at an archery class. These two adolescents shared their knowledge and smiled hello to the parents. It's the little things that mean a lot.
• Words are powerful, and a dear friend is discerning how to use hers to help people maintain dignity and worth while also challenging others to step up their game and follow suit. It's a tricky balance, but I was honored to be a sounding board as she worked it out. God lays on our hearts convictions to see and to act—I love observing how He is using her experiences and talents to make a difference.
When the bad comes, good is right there with it, moving to lighten the darkness. Let us have eyes to see it.