As I have shared over the last several posts the hate filled attack at the LGBT night club in Orlando, Florida have stirred feelings deep within me comparable to 9/11. Do you remember the national call for citizens of the USA to turn their lights off at a certain time step outside and light a candle to honor the fallen after 9/11. I do, on my street everything stopped and grew dark; then one by one small flickers of light appeared and I found such solace in that moment. Throughout the week, my heart has been heavy for the loss of life. My heart breaks for those left behind.
In the hours that followed this tragic event, a somber event, the nation grieved and within a day the media frenzy resumed. Throughout the week, I watched my social media feeds make this less about the loss of life and more about ISIS, gun control, and political & religious agendas; both from the right and the left. I have watch attacks amp up towards the LGBT and community about why this happened. One question moves to the forefront of my mind, “Is this the time and place to have such discussions?”
50 people are dead and gone. 53 people are recovering from physical wounds they received that night. Those who witnessed the event unfold, both victims and first responders, have images and sounds engraved on their minds that no one should have to carry. Families, friends, and entire communities are left with more questions than answers. Without a doubt within LGBT communities across America, there is a sense of being targeted and questioning “Why” and “Will I be next?”.
Here I sit praying, watching and listening, thinking in less than a week our country has forgotten what really matters and that is the people most impacted by this event. Now is not the time to promote any agenda, or fling accusations towards those we may disagree with. Now is the time to mourn, to be present, to extend kindness and offer support. To listen more and talk less.
Over the last few days I have run across this verse in the Bible.
“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” Job 2:13 (NLT)
So simple yet so profound. Job’s friends sat in silence with him; they let him mourn and they mourned with him. As humans we rush the grief process; by wanting to fix things, to help, to relieve the pain, to the dull the ache, to take care of the problem. But in times of great personal tragedy, we can do none. In seasons of loss. the best gift one can give is to be present.
My heart breaks for the loss of lives. This violent hate filled act was targeted towards Latinos and gay-identified people. My heart breaks for the families, friends and community left behind. I pray for the recovery of those injured by this heinous crime. Please know I for one will sit with you, mourn in silence for and with you.
How can the Christian community respond ?
Pray, our first response should always be to pray.
Set aside any religious, personal and or political agendas. Members of the LGBT community are people just like you and me. They are grieving, wounded, concerned, and afraid. They need to see that you care, are present. That you value them as a person.
Many of you have LGBT people in your lives. Let me ask you, have you reached out to them and asked how they are doing with what happened in Orlando? Have you been available to simply sit with them, just as Job’s friends sat with him?
Now is the time to offer the gift of silence, to listen, and to mourn with our LGBT friends and family. The act of being present and being silent will speak louder than any words can. “Sometimes the best gift love can offer is sorrow wrapped in silence.” Unknown
Join me in the act of silence.