“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
As those words were spoken over me last night, I couldn’t help but remember the picture of the mom with the ashen cross across her forehead as she grieved her child in Parkland Florida. That picture wrecked me in so many ways. The reality of our mortality and death is all to real in this broken world.
I am saddened. I am heartbroken. But friends, I am also angry…angry that mental health and mental illness almost always seem to be the scapegoat in situations like this. My blood is boiling!
It makes me even more angry that media turns to mental health and mental illness whenever children are murdered at a school. Yes, mental health and mental illness may play into the shooter’s psyche but the reality is that it is also about guns and gun control issues. And more and more I am convinced we need to change our policies. Our thoughts and prayers are with you mean nothing when they come with empty promises. In fact, the mentally ill are more likely to be the victim of a crime than to commit crimes themselves.
Can we find a balance–a both/and? In contemplating the world around us, I think that yes, we need to make access to mental health care more easily available. It is incredibly difficult to find the proper treatment. Where were the professionals when this shooter’s mother died? But more than anything, why was he so easily able to access a gun? To be honest, I am, more and more convinced, that it is more and more about gun control.
I know that this probably isn’t going to get me any brownie points. But I cannot sit idly by. I need to speak up for what I think is wrong. I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. And she is one of the most faith-filled women that I know. Again she is more likely to be the victim of a crime than to commit a crime.
Friends, there have been 18 school shootings since the beginning of this year; the first two months! That is way too many! We must stop this from happening in our world. So how will we commit to not letting this happen again?
I am tired…exhausted really! But also so deeply full of anger. And I know that I am not alone. So many of us are feeling this same anger. I don’t know about you but I am filled with a holy fire; a holy anger that catapults me “to speak the truth in love.” And I will begin by speaking up when words are simply empty promises. How will you join me? What can we do to make sure that “thoughts and prayers” are more than empty promises?