Fields of Grief and Joy

Years ago I stood in a quiet Pennsylvania field.  It was as beautiful that day as it was today, and as it was fourteen years ago.  I had my oldest son with me there.  He was just 3 years old and didn’t know why just being there was terribly difficult.  He didn’t understand the long granite path into a field that seemingly held nothing.  I didn’t tell him that day that free men and women died in that field not that long ago in the most recent shots of a clash of civilizations because he didn’t yet have the maturity to understand.  Funny thing is that the joy of taking a walk with his dad was infectious.

There was sadness and grief there, but there was also joy.  Joy in the bright sunshine and perfectly cloudless blue sky.  Joy in the quiet solitude of the field and the trees beyond.  Joy in the eyes of a child and the new place.

I have said before that I have learned so much more about God after becoming a father.  That day God used my son to teach me a lesson that I knew intellectually, but had never really thought through.

I knew the moment that I first saw the towers burning that Americans were dying at the hands of a mortal enemy.  I knew that moment that my life and everyone’s lives would change forever.  I was sad for my country and grieved the loss of life.  That grief turned to anger, as it did for many.

What I didn’t know was that God was setting me up for that day years later in that field – so that I might finally understand this:

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Psalm 30:11-12

Defenseless Victim Zones

I ran across a statistical analysis done of gun free zones efficiency.  Concealed carry advocates no longer need to rely on hyperbole or semi-rational arguments without data to back up their summarizing statements.  This is a great read by Michael Menkus.

The simple fact of the matter is that police, fire, paramedics are SECOND responders, not first responders.  You are the first responder (or the first victim).  You are the one on scene when the shooting starts, the fire ignites, or the 70 year old man in front of you collapses to his knees clutching his chest and sweating buckets.

It’s not that police, firefighters, and paramedics aren’t sacrificial men and women doing a terribly difficult job day in and out, but the simple fact of the matter is that they are your backup, not your first line of defense or aide.

While you wait for them to arrive to help, whether they are one minute or twenty minutes away, you have to stay alive while you wait or keep someone else alive if you can.

stuff happens

Are you prepared to put down an active shooter at your work?  your school? your church?

Are you prepared to charge into a raging inferno with a fire extinguisher in order to hold back the flames and give others time to flee a burning building?

Are you prepared to clamp down on an arterial bleed with nothing but your hand?  Are you prepared to use your belt as a tourniquet to a coworker that just lost his hand in a high speed lathe?  Are you prepared to dive into a swimming pool and pull out your neighbor’s kid after they cracked their head on the diving board an fell in unconscious?

Do you think I’m being extreme?

What did Christ Himself say was the second-most important command of God?

To love your neighbor as yourself.

How can you say you love your neighbor if you won’t run to their aide in their moment of greatest need?

YOU are the first responder.  The lives of your family, your friends, your coworkers, even strangers walking down the street depend on you being ready and able to come to their aide immediately and not by calling 911, but by rolling up your sleeves and diving into the fray.

If you wait for the backup to arrive, people WILL die.

This former Boy Scout still believes and lives the Scout motto “Be Prepared.”  Do you?

plan B

 

 

 

Balance

Great stuff today at Arctic Pilgrim.

He asks and answers an often heard question after a tragedy or atrocity.

Where is God? 

Was God there when Cain killed Abel?

Was God there in the gas chambers with the Jews at Auschwitz-Berkinau and Treblinka?

Was God there when the World Trade Center collapsed and the Pentagon burned?

Was God there in the middle of the hurricane over New Orleans? Over Staten Island?

Was God there in Newtown?

Is God there when your own personal hell is raging around you?

Isn’t that a terrible question to ever consider asking?  How hopeless you must feel to ask such a question and doubt the power and presence of the Creator Himself.

Where is God?  He’s right there in front of you.  His arms are wide open and He wants you to see Him, to love Him.  Sometimes terrible things happen in this world, but through it all, the hand that holds yours through it, if you let Him, will be His.  Just ask Genelle Guzman-McMillan, the last survivor pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

 

 

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