Rev. Daniel Humbert reflects on the devastating events of the day:
As I got into the car early this morning to workout at 5 am, I turned on my car radio as usual. The first thing I heard was the request for prayers for the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. My heart hurts. I was both deeply sad and angry all at the same time. Another shooting. Another loss of life. Another senseless act of violence. Another time to mourn what should not be.
I immediately reflect on Orlando, Charleston, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Aurora, the Navy Yard, and the list goes on and on. It's all senseless, violent, wrong! Like so many of you, I wonder, "Why?" How do we get to such a place where this is so common that we simply fill in the blanks to, "How many…?" How many guns, how many shooters, how many dead, how many injured, how many times?
I begin to feel numb as I go into the gym. I don't understand. It doesn't make sense. I don't want to watch as I step onto the elliptical machine. I don't want to hear or see any of it. But I watch anyway. My stomach wrenches as I watch and hear the rattling off of hundreds of rounds of an automatic weapon wiping out swathes of people. I can't believe what I am seeing and hearing.
I find myself almost paralyzed by sorrow and anger all at the same time. I run harder on the elliptical to work out my emotion. I am a man after all…I need to fix something, so surely working out more vigorously will surely solve this problem. I am worn out now…physically, emotionally, spiritually. I come home.
I immediately begin to pray. Pray for the victims, their families, the first responders, the community of Las Vegas, our country, our world. God's world. God's creation. God's Kingdom….Thy will be done… My anger and despair begin to subside, and I find solace and comfort in connecting with God. I needed that connection with God. That realization that when our world is broken, I need to turn to the source of wholeness and healing. I desperately needed to find comfort and strength in the One who creates and gives life. I needed to discover hope from the One who is the author of hope.
This morning, I also needed to hug and kiss my wife, to connect briefly with my daughter before I left for an early meeting, to share with a friend these concerns and to engage with friends on social media to ask for the prayers of others. I needed connection both with God and with those whom I love. In times of horror, tragedy and devastation it's critical that we find ways to connect—with God and others.
After all, one of the reasons that tragedies like these happen is that some kind of disconnect has happened. Someone or some group has become disconnected from love, from hope, from character, from humanity. Our brokenness is always tied to disconnection. We need each other and we need connection. We need love and hope and relationship.
I'm better now than I was this morning. God and prayer and people have helped me. But I'm still troubled. I'm troubled that hatred seems to be gaining steam in our country. I'm troubled that anger seems to outpace love and fear seems to be conquering hope in our country. I'm troubled that violence and guns seem to be solutions to our problems rather than conversations and community building in this country. I'm troubled that polarization and demonizing the "other" seem to outweigh peaceful coexistence and respectful dialogue in this nation. I'm troubled that that respect, integrity and character seem to be lost in our public leadership. I'm troubled that the content of one's character seems to be lost on the judgement of the color of one's skin in this country.
I'm better now than I was this morning. But I'm still troubled. I'm going to do much more praying in the days to come. Praying for God's will. Praying for God's healing. Praying for God's strength to find a way forward.
I'm not sure what I can do. But I believe that as a follower of Jesus, I should be known for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That's all I know to do. I mess it up a lot! But I'll keep trying every day. Keep the victims, their families, Las Vegas, and this nation in your prayers.