I can remember when I was around 10 years old. It was late at night and I was in my mother’s room watching television, something we often did together. My mother turned to me and said the world is going to be changing. I turned to her and said, mom what do you mean? She said the world would begin to devour itself. Now this was not the typically conversation my mother and I would have so I turned back to her kind of worried and said what do you mean? She replied, mother would turn against child, child against mother, father against family and friend against friend. Humanity would cease to be because what was humane about us would no longer exist. My mother also told me that someone would have to stand up to do something about this but she did not know who.
Fast forward to 1999 I’m a junior in college. The television is on and they are reporting in part about a young girl. Her name is Rachel, a 17year old senior in high school. Like most people Rachel wanted her life to matter, she wanted to make a difference in the world. She often felt like many of us do or have that the daily routine of life was eating her alive swallowing the part of herself that was special. She believed that small acts of random kindness could change the world, could make a difference. This day in April she sat as she did many other days, in her classroom drawing in her journal.
This day though, she drew something a little unique. Rachel drew a flower and it was growing through concrete. We all know that flowers need fresh nutritious soil to be nourished and give them the strength to grow. From the petals of the flower there were tears falling down, 13 in all and they seemed to be what was nourishing the flower. It was morning time and by lunch Rachel Scott would become the first victim of the Columbine School massacre. She along with 12 others, 13 in total would fall victim that day, like tears from a flower. For me this was the first clear-cut sign that what my mother told me all those years earlier would come true. And if I had any doubt about it the events over the years have clarified those doubts.
Each week we seem to hear another incident of a child disappearing only to find evidence that the mother had something to do with murder of her own child. We have had numerous incidents of children attacking and murdering the ones who have cared for them. More and more there are stories of father’s brutally murdering their entire family. Since 1999 we have had continual stories of people shooting their colleagues at work, excessive school shootings and other outright random acts of violence. Bringing us almost full circle back to Colorado where earlier this very morning 12 people were shot and killed in a movie theater with an additional 58 or so suffering gun shot wounds. The mayor of Denver was saying that this was an isolated incident. Unfortunately I cannot agree with that because these events continue to happen, escalating in scope and atrocity. Humanity is ceasing to exist because we are losing what makes us most humane.
I do believe that from our darkest moment, that out of our greatest despair can come even greater growth. That out of this adversity can come triumph as we realize the opportunity presented to us to make a difference. As trying as these times are they are also right where we are meant to be. I believe there is a meaning and purpose to life, that humanity has a purpose and there is a Promised Land waiting within us. Your life matters and you are significant. We have been given a promise that through our overcoming of obstacles can come purpose and meaning as we make a difference within ourselves, others and the world around us. But we have to make the changes necessary to realize the growing opportunity before us or be devoured by the mounting adversities. There is a Promised Land awaiting us, within us and until we decide to make a difference in ourselves, others and the world around us we will be unable to reach it. And until we reach The Promised Land we will continually be faced with mounting violence and chaos until humanity itself ceases to exist.