(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
by Marti Fischer
My heart hurts.
This is Makenna Lee, fourth grader from Uvalde, Texas. Yesterday morning that priceless smile of hers brought joy to those who knew her as she wished them goodbye before heading off to school. I imagine she had thoughts of summer vacation which was only two days away. But for sweet Makenna Lee, summer vacation will never come. She was cut down along with 18 of her classmates and two of their beloved teachers yesterday by a school shooter.
My heart hurts for her mother and father who had no idea they would never see her alive again.
Why Makenna Lee? Why her classmates? Why the community members in Buffalo, New York, whose center was a grocery store, where more than likely they knew each other by name? Why those just up the road from us who sought fellowship with one another in a Taiwanese church?
Why not me? Why not you, dear Catch citizens, for that matter?
Did the children, community members, and people of faith take the bullet for me … for you?
Don’t you think it is time for all of us to wake up from a long sleep? Isn’t it time to activate the Grace given to you and to me — to focus our attention on what matters while there is still time?
This is not a season to witch hunt — always on the lookout for the next murderer. No, it’s the season to step out and look deeply into those in pain, in sorrow, in a state of anxiousness — all lonely, suffering people of all ages. Grace was given to me while I was still in pain, living amongst adversity, troubled within myself, fearful for all kinds of reasons. What about you, members of a community we call the Catch? Before Grace was given to you as a gift from God, what state of being did you exist in?
Isn’t it time to look into the eyes of others and see what you can see, hear what you can hear, feel what you can feel — one person at a time?
“But Marti,” you say, “where is the logic in that? We must find reason behind this tragedy and the many that preceded it. We must halt these massacres. We must strategize as to how best to fight for what is right. It is time to take an eye for an eye, where every action is met by an equal or an opposite reaction. Time to kick back at the darkness.”
And I say to you: “Thank God that Grace defies reason and logic — hand-in-hand with the kind of Love that interrupts the consequences of our actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I have harmed people greatly for my own benefit, my own cause, my own self-righteousness.
“God forgive me. By your power, Lord, take the grace you have given me and cause it to work through the holes in my heart so that you might bring your healing power to the broken hearts that surround me, wherever I might be today and to whomever I might meet.
“God, allow the grace given to me to be given away today … and tomorrow … and before the next tragedy.
“Dear Lord, my heart hurts for those touched by this massacre — and the indiscriminate killings everywhere, worldwide. I recognize now, more than ever, that this is not a time to sleep.
“Keep me alive, always, to the hurt in my heart.”