Unimaginable events occurred in our “City Beautiful” this past weekend. Fifty innocent lives were violently taken by two broken individuals in two separate Orlando tragedies. And in the aftermath, the responses have reflected both rage and grace. Some have given blood, water, food, clothing, blankets, time, and prayers. Others have pointed fingers and cast aspersions, blaming the Republicans, the Democrats, gun control activists, gun rights activists, left wing, right wing, Christian, Muslim, the police, the FBI, the President. There is no lack of hatred flying off the fingertips of some Facebookers, while others post calls for prayers and positive thoughts and have changed their Facebook profile pictures in support of the victims and the city. It’s on every t.v. channel, every radio station. I opened Facebook this morning and was sobbing within seconds after seeing a text from one of the victims just moments before his last breath. It took me several minutes to get control of myself.
So what do we tell our children? What do we tell our daughters as we try to raise them to respond with grace and not rage in all circumstances. How do we parents fight against the machine of destruction our society can sometimes be? How do we do this with grace and not rage, because our daughters will do as we do? How do we get on the right side of this thing?
It was the only word my daughter spoke when I told her what had happened. She’s only ten, so I was cautious with my words and told her only what I thought she needed to know – that a very bad man killed some people in a nightclub. I didn’t want her to be caught off guard if some of the older kids brought it up at swim practice or when she inevitably overheard something about the situation. But it raised the ever pressing question of how much should we shelter our daughters? At what point does it become dangerous to protect their innocence? Is a ten year old supposed to know that hatred rages so violently within the souls of some men strictly because they don’t agree with who strangers choose to love? At what point as parents do we have to strike a balance with our children between fear and awareness?
“I don’t know.”
It was the only response I knew to give her. And the only way I know how to teach her to respond to such evil and to such tragedy is to choose grace over rage myself. I am angry. I am in pain. I ache for the victims and their families and their friends and our children who will inherit a beautiful world that we have done much to destroy. A world we have turned into a machine of destruction against selflessness and brotherly love. But I will choose to fight this machine with grace and not rage. I will choose to give blood, food, clothing, blankets, time, and prayers. And as long as our daughters see us respond with grace and not fan the flames of rage, we have to rest in knowing we are doing the best we can to help them right this ship.