Taking the Attacks Personal
WAITING ON INFORMATION
Like the rest of the nation, I’ve been waiting for the FBI to release information on potential suspects from this past Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. It finally came today.
I’m not sure how everyone else feels, but there was no shock felt in this body when the images where released this afternoon.
I did, however, take it personal.
See, I’ve crossed a marathon finish line in St. Louis twice. Granted I only completed a half, and my time is uber slow, but my husband and kids were there both times waiting on me and cheering me on. I take what happened in Boston personal.
Barely four months ago I took what happened in Sandy Hook personal. I’m a mother to students in a public school. I teach in a public school. I didn’t know one person in that community or building, but I took what happened there personal.
Almost a year ago I took it personal when a man burst into a movie theater in Colorado and started shooting innocent people. I had a cousin working in a movie theater in the vicinity. It turned out to be a different theater, but at the time I wasn’t sure which one. Yeah, I took that personal.
In 2002 there was the Mailbox Pipe Bomber trying to blow a smiley face into the middle of the United States. I had a mailbox, and I live in the middle of the United States. I took that personal.
In 1996 the Centennial Olympic Park bombing occurred. My family loves sporting events. We love large scale arena events. I took this attack personal. Now I have this fear of large scale events.
Probably the first tragedy or terrorist event that I clearly remember and understood was the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. As my first experience with mass destruction, I took that personal, too.
Maybe it’s for the same reason that I wasn’t shocked today when they released the photos of the suspects. Maybe it’s for the same reason I took each of these events so personal.
Did you pick up on the common thread stitching each of these tragic occurrences together? I watch with each new event to see if it will follow the pattern, and feel my heart sink and my throat constrict each time it does.
Because I feel responsible.
Society is failing a very specific profile, and then we sit back and wonder what went wrong when tragedy strikes.
Each of the individuals responsible for the above mentions events that I take so personal were young men. Some of them are talked about as being highly intelligent. Some of them had documented histories of mental health diagnoses prior to committing their criminal acts.
I take it personal.
Each one of those men could have gone to school with me. I could have sat beside them in class every day. I could have been the girl who continually ignored one of them, and caused them to feel different.
A couple of those men could have been students in our youth group. I could have been the leader who taught them, prayed with them, shared my faith with them. But did I ever really get involved in their lives? Did I invest to the point I knew their feelings? Did I take the time to build up everyone in the group or just the ones I thought were the brightest stars?
I’ve almost been teaching long enough to say that a few of them could have been students in my classroom. Did I encourage? Build up? Find strengths and point them to avenues that would lead them to hope and a future? Or did I simply teach my content?
You see, I take their crimes personal because I wonder what I could have done to change the course of their lives. I wonder what I can do to change the course of other’s lives who might just be headed down a similar path.
It’s easy for us to sit back and say, “Things like that don’t happen around here.”
Until “something like that” happens where we live. That’s when we want to point fingers and assign blame. That’s when we start looking for signs that we missed, and wondering what went wrong.
Young men have a lot of stress. Big dreams. Big responsibility. And they watch as some seem to have the golden touch and life falls together for them. Yet no one tells them how to make that happen in their own lives.
A friend posted a Scripture on face book today that goes perfectly with the direction of my thoughts tonight.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ Ezekiel 33:6
Friends, it’s time to take these events personal. Not in the attitude of vengeance, but in the attitude of reaching out to people before they get to the point of committing these acts of terror. If we are going to see change in our society, it will start with Christian people investing in the lives of others. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll take God’s Word personal and get busy investing.