I burn my fingers as I pull the pan of stuffed veggies out of the oven in the midst of deciphering the battle cries from the family room in the basement. As I arrange supper onto a platter, I holler down the stairs, “Tori, Lijah, up stairs. NOW!”
Momentarily the screeches of injustice stop as I begin gathering evidence to decide the fate of the feuding siblings.
“Tori took my truck,” Elijah pouts.
“He hit me,” Tori replies.
Normally on days like today, I would play attorney, gathering and refuting the facts and then act as judge, handing out sentences of chores; but today is different. Today I woke up to several of my close friends whose family members had been in that movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Irritated by the media saturating the news about the shooter, I focus my attention and prayers on the families. It won’t bring thier family members back but its a way to honor how precious their lives were.
I want to remember those who lost their lives and it reminds me yet again, how short life is—how precious it is. As a teen, I never thought I wanted a family, nor did I truly understand the gift of my five siblings until I left my mama’s home and began experiencing the world on my own. Mistakes and life lessons paint my memories—but each I am thankful for because of where I am now and who I am surrounded by.
Hands on my hips, I look at my kids, knowing they do not understand the gift they’ve been given in family, “You are all each other has. When you grow up, only you two will be there for each other. You have a choice, either stay angry or apologize and play together.”
Both can tell there is something different about my demeanor today; instead of pressing their luck and with pouty faces; they hug.Each kiddo apologizes to the other, each offering the other their toys. And my thoughts drift back to Kim Anderson, her daughter Petra was shot four times and is in critical condition. Out of the 70 victims shot,another mother grieves the loss of her six-year-old daughter—her only child.
There is no point in questioning why bad things happen in this world, there is no reason to plaster the shooter all over the news; instead I choose to hug my babies even closer and see life for what it is—a precious gift to spend time with those we love. Ask the weeks wear on and the media continues to cover the shooter, I will choose to pray and think of the families and reflect on what I’ve been given like the moments captured in time in the photos above.
Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.
— Brad Henry
What about you? In the midst of the tragedies, what do you focus on?