Stand Tall Anyway. Catching my breath after yet another horrific mass shooting …

There are no words,
just this grief that isn’t mine
but is at the same time.

How can I live in a world like this,
where I can’t control
who allows black oil to pump through their veins –
slippery rage,
explosive blindness …
How does a handsome young man
become a murderous machine?

How do I breathe
as the magnitude of horror rises like lava in my heart
and the reality sinks in –
there are no safe spaces left for my children.
Even my grandmother
can be gunned down
by pure hate
in a grocery store
for the color of her skin.
We are easy targets at a parade.

But I am
still breathing,
I am.
One inhale at a time into the deep canyon within,
a familiar rhythm
through the splintery shards
of residual emotion –
I have to stop sometimes
to wince.

Christ is still being crucified here,
and it’s hard to witness.

My mind wants to start a coalition,
support the schools to add more curriculum –
I need to make another call to congressional leaders
maybe if more of us band together …
I must,
I should.

But Be Still,
a voice inside me whispers,
and I have to admit
my soul longs for rest.

If I want to create world peace,
I must first reclaim my own,
which has been snatched
from between the ribs in my chest.

My prized jewel,
His promise
that I’ve worked so hard to embrace –
I do not give as the world gives

I love how the redwood trees
interweave their roots down deep with each other’s –
that’s how they rise up so high –
beacons of hope for generations …
majestic shade,
strength through every storm –
even wildfires can’t always break
through their thick outer layer …
they are a marvel,
something magical in a world
that feels
too excruciatingly real sometimes.

They speak of what’s possible
without saying a word.

As I sink my roots into the silence,
I find the nourishment
Spirit was nudging me toward,
and I remember how to believe again.

We can still grow tall here in spite of everything.
We can intertwine our roots with each other and
allow grace to pump through our veins,
where the doubt should be.
We can be marvels,
miraculous beacons of hope.
We can provide shade
for whoever wanders through our forest.

World peace starts within,
and it can pump through our veins
where the doubt should be.

We can create oxygen,
we can breathe.

Have you been feeling the grief of the darkness of our times? It truly is unbelievable the amount of mass shootings we have experienced in America this summer, with no sign of them slowing down. We are living in dark times, but by faith – we can bring the light, strength, wonder and marvel of Christ into the world.

How is faith helping you cope with the violence in our society these days? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Lord, give us the strength to be strong and tall like the redwoods, to link with each other and grow in faith as You will us to. Help us to be shade and oxygen for others, that they may find You. In Jesus name, we pray.

written by Nicky Gant 7/7/2022 for

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