Yesterday was a really tough day for me but also for so many other people.
I woke up to news about a shooting in Orlando. Several dead, the news was reporting. I skipped my early morning running group and worked out on my bedroom floor instead. Mentally, I was planning my day and week ahead while the TV played in the background; mass shootings seem to have become commonplace so since I don’t know how to react to it, I just focused on planning my own future.
Then the news started saying 20 confirmed dead. I turned the TV up and looked out the window to see if the sky was falling. I had a meeting planned with my youth group kids and I wanted to see if I would need an umbrella for all the sky-debris still floating down.
And then just when I was getting ready to leave home, my phone rang. One of my co-volunteers at church. She never calls me – we communicate via text – so I debated whether or not to pick up. “Must be a pocket dial”, I thought. But I answered. Her voice was ragged. “Did you hear anything?” she asked.
“Hear what?” This is never a good question.
“You didn’t get a call?” she asked. She was holding back sobs. My head started to feel small.
“No. Nobody called me.” I scrolled through the phone to confirm. “Someone said Leslie but it can’t be. It must be her mother.” Leslie is our friend and co-volunteer at the church. Her mother has been sick for years. News that her mom had passed would be sad and sudden but not a shock.
I promised to call back after I told her to relax. It must be a rumor. I am a trained responder. I know not to panic.
So I started to make phone calls. And then the bottom fell out of my day, my plans, my base. If you read my post yesterday, you already know how the story ends. I found out it was no rumor. A woman who had served all day, hosted 3 programs at the church just hours before, someone who worked in every capacity in our church, a healthy, happy, thriving, resourceful, loving, lovable, respectful, KIND, caring, supportive, partner in our ministry, just went home after a long day, stretched out on her chair and fell asleep and never woke up.
My mind has been going in circles since then.
We had a church family outing planned to go to the baseball game. We went because the kids were looking forward to it but everyone was on autopilot. And while we were there at the stadium, we got news that yet another sister, the mother of another of our co-volunteers had passed away.
And to top it off, news that this crazed man in Orlando had gunned down 49 people who were just living their life. You don’t have to approve of a person or their lifestyle to just leave people alone! The most precious gift God has given ALL of us is the freedom to live the life we choose. I don’t have to endorse your choices but I have to respect them. Sad that some people don’t get that!
I’m in loop mode. Since yesterday morning, I’ve been trying to get back to the plans I’ve abandoned but I can’t. I think about something new for a few minutes and then my mind returns to the loss. Then I try to get myself out of it, and some memory flashes across my mind.
On one of our bus trips month, I was signing copies of my book and Leslie ordered some copies from me. She told me she didn’t want me to autograph hers now – that I should go home and write a story about her and make hers really personal.
I didn’t know this was the last thing I would write to her that she would read. And I didn’t know then why I took a picture of the page and saved it.Amazon, Bloglovin, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.