There was a shooting at my high school a few years before I went there. At the time, I really didn't comprehend the tragedy. All I knew was that one morning before school we heard commotion outside--sirens and stuff. My mom's friend called to tell her there was a shooting at the high school just a few blocks away, so she wouldn't take us to our elementary school until things were under control. Mom turned on the radio to hear the updates. When we did get to school, one of my favorite ever teachers ran outside to usher us into the locked down school in case we were targeted next. She hurried us in, shielding us and asking us to run. I thought it was funny that no one at my school knew that the killer had been arrested. When I got to my classroom, everyone was huddled in a corner. The windows were blacked out with black paper. And right as I came into the eerie classroom, it was announced over the intercom that the lockdown was over. A few weeks later President Clinton drove by in a fleet of limos to offer condolences and we saw his limo pass by from our backyard. As is obvious from my memories, I was a kid, and certainly didn't "get" what was going on.
I had a friend whose big sister went to the high school so she was more affected by it all. When she told me about a brave student who was shot and injured while tackling the shooter, I felt something in my heart. I felt that same thing last week when I read about the teachers and staff who bravely sacrificed their own lives to save children.
Even though terrible things happen, and dark, disturbed people do unspeakable things, there are heroes among us. Even though sometimes I look around and think "What is WRONG with humankind?" the reality is that there is also a whole lot of good in our world too.
It reminds me of my all-time favorite Christmas song, based on the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on the earth, good-will to men.
Our prayers are with those who have been hurt by the recent tragedies. It's heartbreaking to see people use their agency for such wickedness. But there is still so much good on earth, and the Lord is with us, and works through many amazing people and heroes. I know he loves us.