How to Cope after Yet Another Mass-Shooting in America?

This last shooting in Oklahoma, on the heels of the last two, really flattened me last night. Watching President Biden’s speech “Enough!” He described in great detail, horrible scenes he and his wife have witnessed and learned of in just the past three weeks. They all should haunt us and motivate every single person to scream out and demand, “Enough!” Let this sit with you. The classroom scene of an eleven- year- old- girl smearing the blood of a nearby, slain classmate onto her own little head to pretend she was already dead, so she wouldn’t get shot…

Biden has incredible strength and faith to keep going. This isn’t about Biden, or the ever-present political divide, it’s about how to cope now. What can be done when there seems to be no safe place to avoid carnage? Our schools, shops, hospitals, businesses, churches are all vulnerable. How do you not feel like leaving, taking your family and friends out of here? Or hunker down off-grid? It’s a fantasy, I know. I was beyond crying last night, in a very dark place. I was having a hard time keeping the faith.

I know I can’t stay in this place. I got up and took out my journal. It helps to scribble-scream out frustrations, worries, anger. This led to a prayer, confessing my anger, worries, wavering faith. And lack of faith that things are going to change here, in America. Are we being punished as a nation for our waywardness? Our sins? Is there any way out?

I’ve been in Bible study for several years…Some of what we’re living through now seems pretty Old Testament at times. Yet, I can’t believe in a punitive God. I believe we’ve been given free will. I’ve come to believe in a loving God, who weeps with us. I also still believe in a loving God who hears us when we cry out in prayer, and gives us strength.

“Hear me crying out this morning, Oh, God. I come to you today in great despair, anger and worry. I pray for my country, its leaders, those who’ve lost loved ones in the past three weeks in horrific shootings, my loved ones, and myself.

Forgive our nation for turning away from You, for selfish pursuits, for our huge divide. We need to change, to mend, to heal. Please strengthen leaders to do the right thing for all people, not just for some. Comfort and strengthen families suffering beyond-catastrophic loss from unchecked gun violence. Protect our loved ones who bravely work and teach our precious children and youth in our schools. Who lead congregations, heal our sick, operate businesses, etc.

Lord, help me not to panic and be a defeatist in my thinking. Strengthen me to be brave, encouraging others, and to live the full life you’d have me to live, instead of wanting to wring my hands and retreat.

In the Name of Everything Holy,

Amen.”

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