Tuesday, April 21, 2009

10 years later

Yesterday, as most everyone knows, marked the 10th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School. I took the day off and spent it with three very special people. We ate breakfast at the school and were allowed to once again walk the halls of CHS. Exactly 10 years to the moment, I was in the room where I sat when I learned of the shooting, I got to see the office where I waited with 59 others for someone to come, and, save for the addition of paint, it all looked exactly as I remembered it. The memories haven't faded.

At the evening's memorial, I was reminded that no matter what happens in my life I have one job to do: live it for Christ, Colossians 2:6-7. I don't have a dramatic Columbine story. It's something I've always been able to face and talk about. I walked away from my high school experience with a firm conviction to cling to God. I praise Him for that. He sent me exactly what I needed in a moment in the midst of chaos: a friend and three words: "Pray with me." To this day I don't know what I would have done had it not been for Craig. And it doesn't matter. God knew what I needed.

Yesterday was the same. It was through my closest friend from CHS that I learned of the breakfast and God allowed me to share it with her as well, not to mention three of the most important friends I have made since high school. And that was what I needed. Cling to God - embrace the present - look forward to the future - accept your past.

My best friend, one of the three, worded her and Paul's role in yesterday very well (she married a man who graduated with me in 1999): "For Paul and I, as the respective significant others, it was good for us to finally be able to go into the mire with Carey and Clinton and to stand tall next to them. To be the constant, ever present reminder that this was indeed the past we were visiting and that it can be let go of now. I think with our presence there, it helped to highlight the fact that the past has no more power over us than what we allow it. And that the present and future are only as strong and bright as the good we extract from the bad in the past." (emphasis mine)

I am grateful to them for their presence and that reminder as well as the love they both showed me in both the somber and the silly moments. I say it often, but it must be said:
I am blessed. I love you both.

And to the man who provided a lot of that laughter, thank you for loving my best friend. It was an honor to share the day with you.

We have a responsibility to learn from what we experience. I am reminded anew of the fact that no person is insignificant and everyone influences someone, even if only for a moment. I am thankful for all the men and women in my life that have challenged and encouraged me. Without them I would be less. May we always give all that we are.

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