Oh, gosh. What a week! I am NOT thankful that temperature highs have been hovering around 100 degrees since Monday. I am NOT thankful for the South Carolina high humidity! I do love seeing the blue sky, however, and today, I loved those large white puffy clouds that are beginning to fill the skies. It is summer in South Carolina.
The last twenty-four hours have been tragic for the city of Charleston and my beloved state. The senselessness of violence against human beings (or any living creature for that matter) seems overwhelming. I am thankful, though, for the outpouring of sympathy from so many people, for the love that has been shown, for the love that knows no boundaries. I am thankful for the lives, though they have been taken. So many of those men and women who died last night have been working for good for all of their lives—the pastor and senator, the librarian, the college admissions counselor, the grandmother, and those I didn’t name because I don’t know what they did specifically other than welcome a troubled young man into their midst last night because they knew the all inclusive love of God. I can only pray that something of what was said last night during those few minutes before the shooting will reach into that poor young man’s soul, reach him, convict him, and bring him to God.
I am glad that there is forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive when we are confronted with such evil as we have seen in this state in the last twenty-five or twenty-six hours. Yet, Jesus taught us that we forgive others as we ourselves are forgiven. When my sons were very young, I taught them to respond to wrongs done to them with “I forgive you.” I forgive this young man, but I do not excuse him; I do not exonerate him. I fold him accountable for his actions.
When I started this practice of writing about gratitude, I never thought that I would have to write about gratitude on such a day of mourning and sorrow. Those men and women who died yesterday. I am thankful for their lives, though I did not know them. I am thankful for their influence, for their gifts, for their contributions. I am thankful that they knew the love of Jesus, and that they are walking the streets of heaven now with their Lord and mine, and that they know no pain, no sorrow, no regrets.
I am thankful that most citizens of my beloved state are good people, and I pray that we are not stigmatized that the actions one troubled young man.
It has been a troubling time, but as one man said this afternoon in a news cast/interview, “weeping comes in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” I am thankful for the coming down and the joy of the morning.