Sunday, April 20, 2014

A time to mourn and a time to dance

Today marks 15 years since the Columbine tragedy.

I have to sit and re-read that sentence a few times to really understand it. Fifteen years. I know I am not alone in feeling that, because I have no physical scars, Columbine's place in my life is somehow less. A phrase from The Holiday keeps running through my mind: "the walking wounded." That is how I felt for a long time. But not this year. This year I started listening to that frightened 17-year old Carey. Fifteen years ago I was locked in a room with 60 others waiting for someone to find us. This year I have not only remembered, I have been allowing myself to feel, to mourn, to recognize that no matter how many years pass, April 20, 1999 is a day that will live forever in my life. However it is not a day that should define who I am. (I am working on a piece that will go further into the details of this process. It has been liberating in many ways.)

Quote from the wall of the Columbine Memorial

April acutely affects me. This month I've been short-tempered, more tired than usual, struggling between the feelings that have run me for 15 years and the feelings I know should be in control. But this April has been different than past years and it isn't just because of the healing that has begun. It is because of April 20, 2014.

Today is Resurrection Sunday. Today we celebrate the day that Christ Jesus defied death. He bore our iniquities, died, and then rose from the dead to give us eternal life. Every time April 20 crossed my mind this year I thought "it's Easter." It's Resurrection Sunday. I know the end of the story! The Lamb wins.

Shouldn't that be our focus in the midst of any sorrow or struggle in our lives: the resurrection? We have a Savior who knows our pain, our sorrow, can "sympathize with our weaknesses" (Hebrews 4:15). He was "obedient to the point of death" (Philippians 2:8) and died as "propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10) and then rose again from the dead to live and intercede for us from the right hand of God (Romans 8:34). The sorrows that affect us in this world are real and we must acknowledge them, grieve for them, and heal and grow but not outside of the reality of the resurrection. Christ's suffering, death, and triumph over both should frame our experiences. His truth, grace, love, mercy should motivate our actions and reactions.

So today I mourn a day - an act of man - that forever changed my life and how I interact with the world.

Today I celebrate a day - an act of God - that forever changed history - the future - and affects every aspect of life - yours and mine - for all of eternity. My God lives. No matter what happens to me in this life, that truth outweighs it all.

"I will tell of Your name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him;
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard."

Psalm 22:22-24

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