Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Did You Hear?

The prayer vigil I am going to tonight will be at a large church--no time for personal sharing I'm sure. And on Sunday I'll be leading the youth in a ritual of peace and remembrance. But I'm feeling a need to tell my story.

And I'd love to hear your story, too.

On Sunday I woke with the hymn "My Life Flows On in Endless Song" in my head. We were headed to our friends' house for a home based wedding. My sons were the DJs and had to arrive early, roll up rugs and set up a sound system. I was the food lady, and sliced hundreds of sandwich rolls and organized vats of mustard and mayonnaise.

We were there as the groom and all the groomsmen and bridesmaids dressed, we made lots of coffee and straightened ties. There were lots of smiles, goofiness. Then we all headed to a lovely simple Lutheran wedding at the neighborhood church. I'm Norwegian, so even though I'm a lifelong UU, it still felt like home.

Then a lovely low key party--all the usual suspects hanging out by the grill, the baby being passed from child to elder, smiling all the while in her shiny white shoes. A nice dance, a fun party.

We came home exhausted, and my 16-year-old son said to me "Did you hear about the people shot in the UU Church?"


He'd had live internet at the party on the computer. He'd known for hours, but so wisely kept it from me until he knew I could fall apart.

And I did.

I went straight to uua.org, then to the links at the local paper. Two dead. More injured. A Kid's play. Hero, saint. Standing tall, tackling hard. Bloggers wondering, linking, processing.

I was mad. I sat at my computer with tears pouring down my face. How could this happen? How could anyone walk into a church committed to love and justice and open fire? How could any person born of a man and a woman with cells filled with star stuff do this?

My husband set a glass of wine down next to the keyboard, massaged my shoulders and kissed the top of my head. "I'm so sorry, honey. Anything I can do?"

My teens hovered, asked questions. The oldest is youth staff for GA, on his own computer he was hearing from people he knows around the country who were reeling from the loss. He heard that it was Elandria Williams' home church. We called back and forth bits from the news stories.

And I cried.

I just cried. I could hardly see.

We all pulled on pajamas, I soaked in a hot tub. Then just before we went to bed, we prayed on our knees together. We prayed our "thank you" prayer for our safety and the safety of our loved ones. And we prayed our "please" prayer for the dear ones who had suffered. And we promised to stand up and retaliate with a fierce love that fights hate and does not stand down.

A fierce love. How can I keep from singing? Even with tears, we keep on singing.

How did you hear?


Hosking said...

I turned the TV on Sunday night to watch the national news. I heard, there was a shooting at a church. I looked up to see where and didn't believe what I was seeing, a sign that read Unitarian Universalist.

I quickly called my husband in the room and we watched, dumbfounded.

Ali said...

I started the day by donating platelets, and then my husband and I ducked out for a rare 'date', going to see Dark Knight while our daughter was spending the day with her grandparents. Still absorbing the movie, we came home to find the CNN newsflash on my computer.

We are still reeling. We are still stunned.