I was in middle school when Columbine happened, high school when 9/11 occurred. It was so confusing. What would cause someone to do this? How can a person be filled with so much hatred? As I have grown and have had my own children, my confusion has only grown. But there is another part of me that has grown too – my faith. I still don’t understand hate crimes, terrorist attacks, murders, mass shootings – none of it. But what I have come to accept is the fact that I never will.
This morning, I sat in the kitchen having breakfast with my husband and two young sons, ages 9 and 7. And what came on television? “At Least 50 Dead in Orlando Gay Club Massacre.” My smiling reaction to what our oldest son had just joked about turned to a look of confusion and sadness as my attention moved from my son to the television. And then it happened…
“What? Someone shot that many people. How horrible. Mommy, why do things like this keep happening?”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m now the person who has to try to explain these terrible acts of hatred to my children just as my parents desperately tried to with me. But I heard a voice within me say, “Just cry.” And I did.
The tears began to flow. My husband, two sons, and I sat and watched the television and we witnessed our childrens’ eyes fill with tears along with us. We sat in silence. My husband stepped up, “Should we pray?”
Yes. Yes we should.
So we prayed for the victims, for their families, for those hurt by this senseless tragedy – and that’s exactly what it is…senseless. We prayed for the families of the man who took it upon himself to carry this act out, and we prayed for his soul. I watched our boys with their perfect faith, their unquestioning love of all that is good and the words came to me again. “God makes all things good.”
“Look boys. Look at all those people helping. Remember what we’ve said before when something terrible happens…look for the good.”
We pointed out ambulance drivers and EMTs, policemen and firefighters, doctors and nurses, people praying behind caution tape, and individuals hugging one another. Our attention changed from the bad to the good. Our tears became smiles as we talked about how God makes all things good.
The truth is that none of us will ever understand these acts of hate; but it’s not our job to understand. We can cry and we can teach our children that it’s okay to cry. We can not understand and we can teach our children that it’s okay to not understand. We can pray and we can teach our children to pray.
So we choose to teach our children to grieve and to look for the good. God is there. He’s there.
~ Bailey Koch