Everybody Hurts | 08.06.19

This past Sunday I checked the CNN website for an update on the El Paso, Texas, shooting before heading out for a run. Instead, I read about a second shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that morning. Although I usually listen to music during runs, I left the iPod at home and ran in silence. I refuse to succumb to the numb that inundates society.

I thought about the deceased and the injured, the callous politicians, my family, and my God. I thought of Psalm 10. “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” he asks.

Within the throes of my soul, I know God isn’t far. He doesn’t hide himself in times of trouble. “God saw every single bullet,” writes Janel Barr, a mother of four who lives in El Paso. At church that morning, I stayed stoic until the pastor invited the willing to lay anxiety and grief at the altar. I shuffled to the front and dropped to a knee. I wept for the innocent and begged the Almighty for fresh strength to endure this new normal that I have no desire for.

Running is but a footnote to the sporadic horror that reappears without warning. That Sunday run was nothing more than time to air my thoughts to the Almighty. Yes, I enjoyed an hour of solitude, but peace didn’t accompany those sixty minutes. In other words, innocent people dying reinforces the brevity of life and causes me to reset and reconsider what truly matters. Running is important to me, but the spark undoubtedly dims as I consider the unspeakable grief others are experiencing.

“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,” writes the English poet John Donne. I truly feel the grief Donne describes. A part of my soul dies. No words will suffice for the families in El Paso and Dayton. “Weep with those who weep,” writes the apostle Paul. That’s what I’ll do. Weep and pray and vote. In spite of the daily darkness, my hope persists.

Photo courtesy of Brunel Johnson

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