Category Archives: tragedy

What have we learned?

Today was the 12th anniversary of the shooting at the Columbine High School. Much has been written on the incident. Psychologist have studied teenage behavior, schools have been taught to see warning signs and innocence has once again left our lives a little more. Today I heard a radio announcer ask, “What have we learned 12 years later?”. That is a great question.

This question haunts us all even while it flirts with us as if to assume the answer will give validity and purpose to the evil. We have prepared students, teachers, parents and communities. We run drills, practice preparedness techniques and give speeches on warning signs of at-risk kids.

Two and a half years after Columbine we had another killing of a greater measure. We had 9/11. That day is etched in our minds forever. In fact, all we have to do is refer to the date and everyone knows what you mean. When you hear the date 9/11 you immediately are taken back to the events of that tragic day. Since that day, almost 10 and a half years later, what have we learned?

What have we learned? Each one of us have come away with valuable life lessons. One thing that sticks out in my mind is this: we are all on a journey. Each one of us has pain on our pilgrimage that often descends on us like a shadow of desolation and emptiness. We often are tempted to retreat into ourselves and our pain. In a warped way, the pain can become a companion that we just learn to live with. The end result is that we live life as nothing more than a robotic ritual of trying to eek out some form of existence that, in the end, will overshadow the pain. Sounds kind of depressing doesn’t it?

The great and eternal God that transcends each of us offers a better way of life. God offers to each one of us a life that is filled with an unquenchable joy. It is not a joy that is a fake smile and a precursory “I’m fine”. It is a Joy that is bigger than our pain, stronger than our sorrow and greater than our circumstances.

As this day’s journey comes to an end, I am taught once again that in the midst of pain, God is there. His joy radiates and permeates through the thick dark cloud of pain and tragedy. As the old hymn your parents and grandparents knew “Because He lives I can face tomorrow”

Good Night!