One of the things I find hard about writing a blog and keeping it fresh is thinking of something interesting to say.
There are plenty of bloggers that can always find a unique or noteworthy commentary to make about, well most anything.
I've thought a good while about the shooting that happened here in Knoxville yesterday morning at a local church. At this point, 2 people have died, about 5 more are in serious or critical condition in the hospital, and the shooter is in custody. Signs are pointing to some kind of hate crime, whether against the church or Christianity or gays or whatever is still uncertain.
I could have joined in the number of local blogs yesterday and "reported" on it but I didn't. I could have at least posted an "our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families" post but I didn't. There wasn't anything new I could add that hadn't already been covered elsewhere, and sometimes to me the "thoughts and prayers" messages fall a little flat. That's just some of the dark cynicism I find in myself peeking out, I suppose.
But I still felt I would be remiss if I didn't say something about it. I wouldn't be a proper Knoxville blogger. People might thing I was cold and heartless or uncaring.
Let me tell you how I found out about it. During our 11 o'clock service yesterday at a Methodist Church only a few miles from Tennessee Valley Unitarian, our minister told the congregation. I was in the middle of a (discreet) conversation with a fellow sitting next to me and missed most of what the minister said. During the offertory, I pulled up local news on my cell phone and read what had happened.
Still, the full impact didn't hit us until we got in the car after the service and listened to the local news-talk radio station, and got home and watched coverage on local TV. I logged into Twitter to follow local reaction, cruised around my Bloglines news feeds to see if any eyewitness accounts were being reported and then tried to put it out of my mind.
Laura and I watched the finale of The Next Food Network Star, of which I already knew the outcome.
Last night we attended our weekly small group session and discussed several points of the incident. Before my son went to sleep we prayed for the victims, their families and I especially included the shooter in the prayers.
When I woke up this morning, I realized I'd been having disturbing dreams - I felt physically ill waking up - and upon reflection I think I'd been trying to make sense of everything while sleeping. Why? What if he'd come to our church? What would I have done? What systems are in place in Knoxville and Knox County by the government to warn local churches instantly that one man and maybe more could be targeting their Sunday morning worship services? How does this affect my views on guns? What can we do to make things safer? How do we forgive, how do we forget, how do we continue to live our lives in the shadows of gunmen?
I don't know if my sleep will be any easier tonight. It certainly won't be for those involved and especially those kids. I can't imagine what would be going through my kids' heads if they'd witnessed something like that. Would I have had the courage to stand up and take a shotgun blast to protect my family and friends like Greg McKendry?
Someone asked last night at small group - if you had the opportunity to live your life over again, would you do it? Do the high points outweigh the low points enough to make you want to do it all over again? I go to thinking about what a great childhood I had - I would live it over in a heartbeat.
Now some kids, because of what happened yesterday, have an indelible stain on their childhoods. Something that hopefully a lot of love, attention, caring and maybe therapy may be able to soften. But it will never be erased.
Thanks, mister, for proving to us once again it's a Hard Knock Life.