“I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.” ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ~
When we look out our back door we hope to find tranquility, beauty, peace, refuge and a place of escape. Today’s picture is one my little Momma took back in 2009 from her backyard which makes up about 3 acres on a little mountain top in northeastern – central Alabama. Mom took this picture before macular degeneration really began dealing fits with her vision.
Nonetheless, this is her “back door” on one beautiful sunrise. I live “around the corner” from my parents and even though my view is different, I love my back door and front door views. They are a big part of why I moved here. I’ve made no secret this area reminds me of my ancestral home in east Tennessee at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
But, as we look beyond our back door, our view expands – our community and reasons for being where we are expand also. Think of it like the ripple effect in a pond.
My back door expands to my local community, then our county, nearest large city, then our state and then of course our Nation. Within those groups we have subgroups like our churches, work groups, school and so on.
I am a confessed “news hound”. I was this close to attending college out of state to major in journalism when I made the decision to marry my ex.
So, I have to admit there have been countless number of times I have sat in front of the TV horrified as I watched terrible almost epic tragedy unfold in fellow Americans backyards. We all know the names: Columbine, Pearl High School (MS) shooting, Sandy Hook, the Aurora CO theatre shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing and of course the 9/11 tragedy. While saying a pray for those in the embroiled in devastating tragedy, I would be untruthful if I didn’t admit I also said a word of thanks for the safety that had covered mine and my “back door”.
But, we live in desperate times and desperate times can bring tragedy, horror and unrelenting pain and grief to our own back door – our back yard when we least except.
September 23, 2014 was that day for my back door and it rippled through my community with pain that tore through the hearts of thousands of people. For on that day, a little after 9 AM a 45 year old man who was most certainly not in his right mind walked into a UPS distribution center and began shooting. When he was finished two men were dead and then he turned the gun on himself and ended his life.
Now, I am not here to debate his motives, what drove him to do what he did. There is plenty of information available concerning that. And, I will not debate second amendment rights. This is not what this is about.
This is about families – about a community – about pain and about how can we move forward.
Yesterday, I felt a tremendous burden for all involved. As the day unfolded and details revealed an anvil of pain fell on me for the shooter’s family – his wife and two young children. Law enforcement descended on the family’s home and began “digging” through the family home looking for a why. Local schools were locked down as a precautionary move – an admirable move to keep the kids in our community as safe as possible.
The more I thought of this family’s misfortune, I thought of the Amish school shooting in Pennsylvania in 2006. That lead me to post the following on Facebook:
You know I’ve been thinking about the family of the UPS shooter. Imagine how turned up their world is today. There is a wife and children that started their day today – kids who went to school, and a wife who maybe went to work. She might have already had the worries of making ends meet at the loss of one income on her mind. Now, the horror of finding out her spouse and the father of her children killed 2 men and himself in front of the whole world and that world is now digging into their home and life. These are desperate times we live in. No matter what mainstream media tells you, the economy is not better. Millions of Americans have given up on finding a job because jobs are hard to come by. But, what about this family – this family that is in OUR back door? I’m reminded of the horrific Amish school shooting in PA several years ago. A man not in his right mind went into an Amish school and slaughtered several young Amish girls. How did the Amish community react to that man’s family? With an unbelievable outpouring of God’s love. They took food to the family and when there were no mourners at his funeral (he had turned his gun on himself like the gunman did this morning) this Amish community attended to support the widow and family. You can only do that kind of thing through the love of our Almighty God. I hope in the upcoming days the UPS shooter’s family sees the sustaining love of God from our community. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matt 5:7 NIV
The outpouring and response has been overwhelming. It has reminded me why I love this spot I have picked as my home. My sweet home, Alabama. There are good people here – people who realize that the tragedy of Sept. 23 ripples out and touches the families of the two men that were slain, but also the innocent wife and children of the shooter and for every ripple after that.
So this evening or in the morning, step out your back door or your front door breathe in your view – don’t be like Mozart and wait to let death be the key which unlocks the door to your true happiness.