To protect my sense of peace, I don't usually watch the news. This past Saturday though, while doing other writing work on my computer, I decided to have Facebook open so I could engage with "my peeps" a little bit when I needed a break. I started seeing Christina Grimmie's name in my newsfeed saying that she had been shot. I thought to myself, "How terrible", but wanting to protect my sense of peace, I didn't click to see Adam Levine's comment or go gleaning for details.
Later on, while speaking on the phone to a friend, I mentioned how sad it was that Christina had been shot, and when my friend added, "and killed", I yelped in surprise. "And killed? She was killed? Oh my God, that's horrible!" The sense of peace I was trying to protect was now like a fractured windshield housing a web of cracks extending out to its corners.
I went online to try to make sense of such a tragedy, but dared not view any video. Another senseless act of violence, involving a gun and an innocent. Something has got to be done about all this access to guns! I went back to doing my work, but drained of enthusiasm due to the shock of this breaking story.
On Sunday morning, on the way to see a friend in a show in beautiful Quogue, NY, I started to see in my news feed that 50 people had been shot in Orlando, FL. "What is going on?" I thought. "Have people lost their minds?" I read a bit about the massacre and had to stop. I was going from sad to mad to deep despair when I decided to stop.
I prayed for Christina's and the club victims' family, friends, and all that would hear/hurt about it. I asked God to comfort them and heal us all. I then thought of my stepdaughter and how often she's performing somewhere and taking pictures with fans. I almost texted to suggest she keep some distance from fans when I paused to consider this: Opening yourself up is an act of faith--every time. It's not always going to end the way you want, but you'll be keeping in step with who you are and what you believe.
Each time we open ourselves to others we risk being hurt. Jesus himself demonstrated that. Even though he knew that one of his 12 disciples would betray him (Matthew 26: 21 "And while they were eating, he said, 'Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.'”), he didn't hold back love, instruction, or correction from any one of them. He loved each one wholly and completely despite their shortcomings. He understood that we are just people; vulnerable to good and bad.
He made himself vulnerable to the very people who would kill him; he made himself vulnerable knowing the evil of humanity. I think he wanted us to know that even when he could have protected himself from being hurt by us lost souls, he didn't. He valued openness. He valued connection to others. Even to the point of being willing to let people close to him. He understood that it was all part of a plan that would lead to his crucifixion.
I know a lot of us are tempted to protect ourselves and our loved ones from suffering such a fate as Christina and all those people at Pulse nightclub by pulling away from each other; protecting ourselves somehow; close our doors, build our walls. But the truth is, we can't know when our time is up and while we live, wouldn't we rather live in a way that's full and open? What's the alternative -- empty and closed? Vulnerability shows great strength and resolve. I don't claim to have answers, just questions.