My Heart Breaks
A controversial subject I know, and I usually stray away from controversy, but it is something that is weighing heavy on my heart, as I see this same situation play on repeat. During tragic events, why can we not hate less, and love more?
You see, there have been two tragic accidents, yes, accidents, that I have seen in the news this week. Though I am sure there are hundreds more that have happened around the country as well, these are the two that had my heart breaking:
The first tragic accident happened in Jackson, Mississippi. A sleeping, six year old boy was left by his mom in a running car sometime after midnight. She ran into the store, and when she came out, her car was gone. Three young males had stolen her car with the child in the backseat. When they found the car, the young boy had been shot and killed. This breaks my heart.
The second tragic accident happened in Houston, Texas. A two year old child drowned in her home pool when she wandered off. There are some reports that say the parents were asleep at the time, and there are some reports that say they were talking with friends when it happened; however, it has been reported that there was no foul play. It doesn’t matter to me the circumstances, as the results are the same. A poor child lost her life, and again, my heart is broken.
My heart breaks for the victim’s families, the lives lost, the suspect’s and their families, and for our country.
You see, I didn’t even have to read the comments below the articles to know what they said, but I did, just so I could be factual in my writing. Here are just a few:
“…complacency is how things like this happen…”
“…It seems like this ‘tragic accident’ was preventable.”
“…died as a result of stupidity!”
“…it was her fault. Bottom line.”
Y’all, I had to stop reading. Those are just a few of the hundreds of comments on these articles. Given, not all of the comments were negative and placed blame. There were several kind hearted people offering their condolences and prayers, but it made me sad that the hateful comments were there to begin with, as you know these were the comments that were focused on the most.
It Could Happen to Me… and You
Maybe there were bad choices or mistakes involved in these accidents, but we all make mistakes, and I am sure these parents are putting enough shame, guilt and blame on themselves without us doing it for them. Can you imagine what that’s like? To know that if you would have done one minor thing differently, your child could still be here. Those parents will replay those tragic days in their heads over and over again for years to come. I know I can’t imagine what that’s like, and I pray I never have to know, but the thing is, I am human, I make mistakes, and it could indeed happen to me. What everyone needs to remember, is it could happen to anyone. We have to stop responding with, “I would never ______.” How would you like people to respond should it ever happen to you? Grace, compassion, love, and respect are only a few of the emotions that come to my mind.
You may be saying, “Well, I would never leave my child in a car,” or “I have a fence around my pool.” That’s great, really. I commend you for those precautions you are taking to keep your child safe. But what about the thousands of other choices you could make that could ultimately cost your child their life? What a difficult question to think about. Sure, most parents would never do anything intentionally to harm their child, but that’s why we call so many tragedies, accidents. The intent was not for someone to be harmed, or in these cases, killed.
Just the other day, I was unloading the car. I had brought both boys inside, and the back door that opens up to the garage was open as I was carrying things in. Well, don’t you know one child locked the door, and the other child shut the door. Want to know where I was when this happened? I was outside with one child, and the other child was inside and couldn’t unlock the door. Sure, he was only in there for 5-10 minutes, but do you know all of the horrible accidents that could have happened to him during those 5-10 minutes?
Regardless of the baby proofing in our home, the boys still manage to get in every single cabinet and every single door. What would people be saying about me should something horrible have happened? Do you think I intentionally locked myself out of the house with my 17 month old inside? It was an accident, much like these, that thankfully left no one hurt.
We Don’t Know the Facts
I understand that there is anger, frustration, and sadness, as their should be, but why should one choose to be hateful in their words and actions to the parents that have just lost their world? How will that help them? What will that change? It will only make them feel worse. Is that the goal of the hateful comment? If so, that is very disheartening. If not, why make the comment to begin with?
The fact is, 99% of us do not know all of the facts of either of these stories, and we probably never will. That is ok. And it is also ok to be upset and angry.
Be angry with the suspect’s that ended a child’s life, sure, but even then, should we spew anger towards them or their families? I don’t think so. And I’m sure by now, many of you are red in the face with disagreement and anger towards me. You know what? That’s ok. God created us to have these emotions and feelings; however, there’s a right and wrong way to show those feelings, there’s a right and wrong way to disagree with someone, and there’s a right and wrong way to react to stories as these. The right way is not to show hate. The right way is not to place blame. The right way involves grace, compassion, love, and respect.
Immediately after reading the comments on these articles, the following verse came to my mind:
“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you which is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'” – John 8:7
Another thing that really saddens me about this is the public claims these people make about their personal lives. I’m not going to lie, I did a little bit of social media stalking on the people that were making these comments just so I could see exactly what I thought I would see. These are people openly saying they are Christians. These are people with First Communion pictures posted. These are people saying they’re “born to love.” Ironic isn’t it? No wonder Christianity gets a bad rap. Had I not already had knowledge of the Church and a relationship with God, I wouldn’t want to be a part of a Church either whose first instinct is to run and place blame instead of to run and show love and empathy.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am a sinner. I have judged others. I have shown hate. I am horrible at forgiving people, as I tend to hold a grudge. I know I have not always shown a great example of Christianity. I want you to know I don’t think less of these people for the comments they made. I don’t know these people, and I wish them no ill will. I will chalk it up to they made a mistake in their words. They let their anger and sadness get the best of them. I am simply saying that the way our world has decided to handle such tragedies breaks my heart.
Hate Less, and Love More
We would be in a much better place if we stopped saying, “that would never happen to me,” and start saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss. You must be devastated. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.”
You know what the best part of that statement is? You can say it to everyone involved. Clearly you can say it to the heartbroken families that lost their child. You can say it to the suspect’s families, as they are no doubt heartbroken over these events as well. And you can absolutely say it to the suspect’s themselves, as they have undoubtedly lost a lot, such as their freedom for starters. If they aren’t clinically diagnosed with a mental health issue, they are probably devastated in some form, and they probably need your prayers more than anyone. Sure it wouldn’t be easy, but then you can pray for yourself that you may find the strength to forgive and the heart to show compassion. I know I have had to pray that same prayer myself and will have to continue to pray it in the future.
Let us be the change we want to see. Let us hate less and love more. And most importantly, let us show our children how to treat others with grace, compassion, love, and respect.
As Ellen Degeneres says at the end of every show, “Be kind to one another.”