The grievous shootings in Omaha and Tucson are deeply saddening, families have been devastated and precious life taken. Walking into church on Sunday it was on my heart and mind, the emotions overwhelming as we prayed for all those involved. It will take months, if not years for these communities to process the shock, grief, and lost sense of security. A grocery store parking lot, a high school, these are places we cannot imagine feeling unsafe as we navigate daily life.
In the midst of the deplorable politicizing that sullied the tragedy in Tucson, is a remarkable story of a family in Omaha. Samantha Flynn, now 16, has been touched by tragedy twice at such a young age. Her resolve to heal and live life with a positive outlook is exemplary. Honestly, I didn’t think much about her three years ago when she lost her mother to violence at the tender age of 13—we endured similar circumstances just days later with our own 12 and 16-year-old daughters. We understand the long road of recovery and our prayers go out to Samantha and her father, who face it yet again. Their grace and courage are inspiring.
Long after the media has moved on to the next headline, the families of these two communities will be adjusting to a new normal, as life will never be as it once was. They will need continuing prayer and practical support, as well as trauma counseling. If you know the families involved, offer to clean house, run errands, deliver meals, buy groceries, tutor children, mow their yard, walk their dog, or do any number of simple, yet potentially overwhelming routine tasks. Flowers, cards and notes of encouragement are meaningful, especially for those not at the center of media attention.
There is tremendous comfort when loss is acknowledged and someone is willing to grieve with us when we are grieved. May the peace of God rest on each of these communities like a blanket and His presence be tangible in their midst.
Romans 12:15 (NIV) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Contact information to contribute notes of encouragement and support:
Tucson Victims: http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/azcentral/guestbook.aspx?n=victims-of-tucson-shooting&pid=147664429&cid=view
(Samantha Flynn’s school)
Millard South High School
14905 Q Street
Omaha, NE 68137-2599