Sad? Angry? A Little of Both?

Our church sponsors a youth theater that does two shows each summer.  We are winding up to production week for the last of our two shows for this year which means high school and college age students putting their best performances onstage in preparation for three dinner theater performances of Disney’s High School Musical next week.

Last night’s rehearsal was exceptionally high on energy since several of my cast members were heading to the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” after rehearsal.  I warned them not to say anything to me until I had a chance to see it – didn’t want any of the surprises ruined!

Then I woke up this morning and my heart broke to hear that so many lives had been ended or forever impacted by the act of one man.  Since hearing the news, my emotions have ranged from sad to angry and back again.  They are both legitimate reactions and I refuse to ignore or deny either one.

Hubby and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises tonight since we hadn’t had a date night in a while. As we sat in the theater, watching the pre-movie ads and the previews, I couldn’t help but think of those total strangers who had been sitting and waiting – just like I was – less than 24 hours before in Aurora, Colorado.  Husbands and wives on much needed date nights, young couples seeing a much anticipated movie, families that were hoping to spend an evening together . . . I’m fairly certain that not one single person sat in that theater and expected to witness a shooting rampage or fall victim to it.

Every person injured or life lost represented someone’s child.  As a mother, that breaks my heart.

Is there a spouse going to bed alone tonight, weeping tears of gratitude that their loved one is recovering from injuries?  Or are they tears of grief that feel as though they will never end? As a wife, I cannot imagine having to face the serious injury or loss of my husband.

The shooter had a mother.  Regardless of what motivated him to do what he did – and there is far too much speculation – his mother’s heart must be breaking.  In an interview, his family was quoted as saying that their thoughts and prayers were with the families affected by the tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers have, more than once, been with them today.

Contemplating the individuals whose lives have been forever altered by the events of last night has touched my heart and I’ve spent numerous silent moments offering up prayers for those I will never know.  It seems like so little but living so far from the site of the tragedy, it’s all I have to offer right now.

Then I hear the opinions and statements being made and the anger wells up:

Anger at the special interest groups of all kinds using this event to try and further their cause. I don’t care what your opinion on gun law is, our focus right now needs to be on surrounding the human beings affected with love and support.

Anger at the religious nuts who claim this atrocity was an act of God.  Yes, God holds people accountable for their actions, but he desires to show us his mercy and love not his wrath.

Anger at politicians who are trying to build their re-election campaign on this tragedy.  How heartless does one have to be to use the grief and loss of hundreds for personal gain?

We may never know why the shooter did what he did.  And far too quickly, those of us who do not live anywhere near Aurora, Colorado will get caught up in the busy-ness of our lives and forget that there are individuals trying to learn how to live a “normal” life after all the loss and trauma.  Can you imagine how hard it will be for them to ever go to a movie theater again?

I will continue to pray for these families, that I do not quickly forget them, and that those who can help – counseling, medical treatment, etc. – are available.  And I will be VERY selective in the new stories I watch/read.  It is my hope that I can keep my focus on praying for the families and ignore the rhetoric spewing from the mouths of everyone who can get a microphone and a camera or who is able to type.

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