Monday, December 17, 2012

It is Never a Waste...

This weekend, I thought a lot about the tragic events of Friday.  I don't have children so the fact the children were 6 years old was impossible for me to comprehend at first.  And then I thought about a 6 year old -- excited about going to school to see his friends.  Excited to learn, take a lunchbox, and ride the bus.  A little 6 year old who probably enjoyed playing with the class pet.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks that these were the victims.

I heard something interesting that a psychologist said and I want to share it in case you have a job/life and didn't spend Friday camped in front of the TV.  When asked if the gunman was a "loner" he said that usually in situations like these, the gunman is not a loner.  In fact he is someone who wanted friends, wanted to belong, wanted to feel loved, but didn't get that.  He was a loner by default and not by choice.  He was for lack of a better word, an "outcast".  The thought of dying as a nobody seemed worse to him than being remembered as a monster.  I am not writing this in an attempt to garner sympathy for his crimes, but I think we can all relate to one time or another feeling like an outcast.  Maybe it was at summer camp, in a class, at a dance, on a sports team, at a party, etc.  But at one time or another, each person has felt the twinge of being the outsider and it is lonely.  It can make you want to crawl under a table and hide.  And then take that feeling, add in past insecurities, and perhaps being picked on/openly disliked and unwanted...and you feel despair.  That does NOT excuse behavior that is violent towards the innocent and I don't want this to come off that way.  But it provides a look at how important a community is, how important feeling loved is.  We can use this to remember to open our eyes and our heart to someone in need.  To remember that even if someone seems to NOT want any friends, they might be dying on the inside and need a friend more than you know.

I saw a lot of press about the police officer who bought a pair of shoes for a homeless man a few weeks ago.  And then I heard that a couple of days later the homeless man's shoes had disappeared.  People claimed it was "a waste" to buy those shoes for him.  They claimed he was ungrateful and didn't even keep up with them.  Brian and I have a good friend who happens to be homeless named Danny.  He is truly one of our closest friends and favorite people.  We talk to him every other day and get together whenever we are back in NC.  He lives in Charlotte and despite the numerous attempts and temporary successes to get him a job, housing, etc., he has chosen this path in one way or another and always ends up back in the shelter or on the streets.  We have given him coats, gloves, bookbags, and clothes, and they usually don't stay around too long.  Often this feels like a waste and at times it frustrates me to no end, but I remember this and carry it with me always:

It is never a waste to make someone feel loved.  

It is never a waste if for just a split second it reminds Danny that someone cares about him.  It is times like those that the Holy Spirit works in ways we don't understand and that God's presence lingers.

On Friday I wrote a little about understanding God in tragic times and I don't want to be redundant.  So you can stop here if you read the last post.  God doesn't make things like this happen.  He doesn't plan the tragedy.  I believe He knows about it.  I believe he lets it happen.  But he doesn't do this out of spite or hate.  He gives us freewill and allows us to make our own decisions.  He doesn't always intervene even though one would think if there was ever a time for a miracle, wouldn't this have been the time? Our actions have consequences and they affect others.  He sent his own beloved son to earth and allowed Him to die on the cross for our sins.  He could have intervened -- Jesus was perfect, undeserving of the punishment, innocent -- but He allowed it to happen.  He allowed Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice so that we would be forgiven for our sins and know eternal life with Him.

It is Christmas and we are called to be joyful in times of sorrow.  That is easier said than done and far easier for me than it will be for the parents who lost their children.  But we are called to give glory to God in all things.

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