At 7:41 pm last night, I received this text from my husband who had just left to pick up some food:
“Just had something amazing happen. God.”
Here it is in person. Forgive my fingerprints.
I was intrigued to see what he was talking about since he had been in a less-than-stellar mood for the better part of the day.
I often give my husband a hard time about his lack of emotional expression and worry over things. And while he is one of the kindest people I know, the only time I’ve seen him shed a tear in our 9.5 years together is when we lost our dog Scooter.
As I like to say, he thinks about things. I feel about things. End of story.
But while we both like to kid each other about our different approaches to life, it works very well for us. He seems to always make me feel better about things that would have me worrying for years. I seem to help him see the love in things that he would not otherwise see.
But for the past few days since the Connecticut shooting, he has not been his normal self. And when I asked him what was wrong, he just kept saying, “I am very bothered about that situation. I do not like it at all.” But that is all I could get him to say.
And it was easy to see he meant it because he was quiet, pensive and withdrawn despite his best efforts to engage with our family. And I felt bothered he was so bothered, but I couldn’t seem to help him feel any better.
So I kept asking, “Are you the most grief stricken for the kids? Is it their parents? Is it the fact that we have young kids? Are you worried for our kids’ safety?” He had no answers. Just a sad look on his face.
Later that evening when he left to get food, I felt a need to pray for him. Fifteen minutes later, I received his text.
When he walked in the door from getting the food, he immediately said,
“I think I figured it out.
I’m just mad.
Because it just feels like evil is winning.
And I don’t like that.”
He then went on to tell me that while he was picking up food for Isaac at the drive through, a mom pulled up in an older van behind him, and for some reason, he felt compelled to pay for her meal. He said he just wanted to do something completely opposite of what occurred in Connecticut to deal with the sadness he was feeling.
But as he reached his hand out the window with his credit card, the young man working the register kept peering around the corner at Joe to see if he was the next car pulling up and every time he saw it was still Joe, he would walk back around the corner robbing Joe of his opportunity to pay.
Joe said he pulled forward feeling defeated and even more down because he knew he had lost his chance to pay for her. But just as he was moving forward, he heard the radio announcer on K Love say the exact thing he was feeling. She talked about evil in the world and her desire to do something in response, and she mentioned paying for someone’s meal in a drive through.
And for some reason in that moment, Joe said that although he wasn’t able to pay for the woman’s meal, he felt like God was speaking to him. And this is what he heard:
“I care for and love the victims’ families that are hurting.
I care that you (and the rest of America) is heartbroken.
I care that you feel evil is overtaking.
And I am listening.
And I am still good.”
Joe then said the next time we go out to eat, we are paying for the person’s meal behind us no matter what. Because no matter how small that act may be, it is a tiny but real way to show love to someone in a broken world.
It sounds simple. But I like the idea. And it gives me something to do with the sadness I am carrying over the tragedy.
I believe our grief exists for a reason and whatever it is that we feel–anger, sadness, shock, a desire for vengeance–it’s all appropriate.
But here’s an idea. What if we turned the grief we are carrying into an action of love? The stronger the depression you feel, the stronger an act of love and goodness you display to someone.
As you hear the names and see the faces of those killed in the tragedy, use their lives as motivation to love someone sitting in front of you. There are so many people and children that are in need right now. They could use your love. And in a tangible way.
Go out of your way for a stranger for Charlotte and Chase.
Kiss someone for Daniel and Jesse.
Apologize to someone for Olivia and Madeleine.
Say thank you to someone who needs it for Josephine and Catherine.
Hug someone for Ana and Dillon.
Give a gift to someone for James and Grace.
Buy a meal for someone for Emilie and Jack.
Write a note to someone for Noah and Allison.
Go visit a shut in for Caroline and Jessica.
Pray for someone for Benjamin and Avielle.
Do the boldest act of love you can think of for their parents and families.
Love conquers evil. Conquer some of the darkness you feel by expressing love.
So back to my title.
So evil wins? Right.
Love always wins.
And you have love in you.
So use it.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8
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