A number of you who are readers are a part of the Seattle Pacific University community. Tonight, my prayers are with you all.
I blog quite a bit about grief and trauma, about social and cultural issues that shape our attitudes and hearts and lead to actions of violence. And today, we witnessed violence–and while a fast news cycle will drive people to try to quickly figure out why, right now, we are still in the moment of rupture. The work of untangling ourselves from a culture of violence is slow because it is work that is interrupted by the evil of senseless of acts of violence.
I recently had the chance to sit in a room with many of you, on your beautiful campus, here in Seattle. I am touched by the depth and thoughtfulness of your students, staff, and faculty, and my heart breaks for you as your campus–your classrooms and your homes–were violated today. My heart breaks, because it doesn’t matter why this happened, sorting out the why won’t undo the death and trauma of today.
And of course we must work together, over time, to sort out what we can of the why, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But not yet.
Today, beloved ones, hold each other. Cry. Laugh (even though it seems strange, grief laughter–that sound of breaking–can open us up to be able to heal). Talk to each other. Tell stories. Call your loved ones. Hug. Pray. Scream.
There are people to talk to on your campus and there are therapists and pastors nearby who I can help you get in touch with who will sit with you as you process what’s going on. You are beautiful and beloved, and you are not alone. Whether or not sleep comes to you tonight, may you find some moments of rest in your sorrow.
And know that tonight, I am crying and praying with you. Seattle is holding you in our hearts. There is no sense to what has happened, but you don’t sit alone in the senselessness.
God, who knows us each by name,
You see the harm we do to one another. Hold your children, the members of the SPU community, the victims, and the man who shot them. Guide your people, that we may offer kindness and compassion as we bear witness to the pain of this community. Hold our sorrow and our rage, and our inability to make sense of these events.
Meet us in our suffering. Thank you for the courage of those who stepped in to stop the shooter, and grant us the capacity to forgive, to heal, and to stop such events from happening again. Give us the strength and space to tell our stories, to listen to each other, and feel whatever we are feeling in this moment and in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Allow us to grieve deeply so that we can come out of this more, loving, imaginative, and committed to your way of love.
We ask these things with broken hearts. Amen
Please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk with me or to be put in touch with a professional counselor or pastor in the area.