Tragedy and Community

Tragedy is a guest that is never invited.

Tragedy knows no age, no education, no race or no class.  But, it does know one thing.  It knows how to provide. It provides us with devastation, grief, assumptions and blame.  So often when tragedy hits, we look for answers to questions that simply can't be answered.  We question God, His love for us, His plans for us; His goodness.

But what tragedy can also provides sometimes goes unnoticed.  A lot of times, it can bring us closer together, even just for a moment, and reminds us that we share a bond of humanity. Maybe even for some, it opens their eyes to the reality of the life they are living.  The bitterness and unforgiveness in their hearts.  The wasted years of holding grudges against your family, friends, spouses, even children.

I look at my own life, my husband and I, who live only a few miles from his brother and wife, where our children ride the school bus together, whom we see in the community, yet we can not speak to. Our children can not play, our support can never be offered, and our family gatherings are always missing an necessary piece to the puzzle.  I think of my in-laws, who have not held their grand babies in almost 4 years, and my heart breaks.  My heart breaks for the choices that people make out of emotion and not facts, out of fear and not faith, out of hate and not love.  I often think, will a horrific tragedy have to strike in our own family for people to gain perspective?  I pray we never have to find out.

Tragedy can force you to examine your life, your priorities, your relationships and your future.  When I think of the loss that I have personally experienced in my not-so-many years, I'm reminded that life on Earth is so, very, finite.  It is never promised, it is never guaranteed.  We are reminded that every day, even today, counts.  We are reminded that we may not know the bigger picture, or understand that plans that God has for our lives. But that God knows all.  He understands the sorrow that we feel and when our hearts are heavy. 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
— Matthew 5:4
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Sometimes I think, if you have never truly experienced a life changing tragedy, can you really understand what a gift your own life is?  Can you truly comprehend the comfort and love of God? 

When tragedy hits a community,  we mourn.  We mourn for the lives that would have been.  We mourn for the families and friends of those affected.  We mourn for the last words spoken to each other, and pray they were kind.  We mourn for the future world without the lives in it.  We mourn and we gather.

Hold on to your loved ones, forgive those who have wronged you, let go of the hurt.  Life is so short, so fragile and should be cherished, not wasted.  Talk more, argue less, play more games with your kids and less with your phone.  Call your parents, pay attention to the people around you, open your heart to the broken.  And, above all else, keep trusting in the Lord, that He can and He will heal your heart and make beauty from the ashes. 

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