It was an eerie drive home.
I don’t usually plan my route home specifically to maneuver around the SWAT teams that have converged upon my neighborhood, but I did tonight.
Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino is about eight miles from my home. That’s way too close to be a “news story.” This one was personal …
A lifelong friend’s daughter and grandson were at the IRC when the shooting started. Thankfully, they are safe.
Since I work in the field of social services, many of my colleagues have friends who work at the center. As I’m writing this, I don’t know if they all reached safety.
After a police chase, there was a shootout with the suspects along a route I travel frequently.
The house in Redlands that was surrounded by SWAT teams for most of the afternoon and evening is within walking distance of my home.
This wasn’t something “out there” somewhere, this was close–too close–to home.
Yet, I’m one of the fortunate ones. My loved ones are safe. My coworkers and friends are safe. I’m safe.
Not everyone in my community can say that tonight, so I dare not take that precious gift for granted. None of us should ever take that gift for granted. Every routine day, every uneventful moment, each and every breath is a gift. I pray we are reminded to cherish the gift of “everyday” life with great gratitude. It really is so very precious … and so very fragile.
I’m so mindful of that fact on this incredibly surreal day. My emotions are all over the place. I’m shocked. I’m numb. I’m heartbroken. I’m outraged.
And yes, I’m afraid.
I’m afraid because fear struck close to home.
This is my home. This is my community. This is up close and personal.
But because it is personal, I refuse to allow fear to win.
Fear struck a powerful blow in my community today, but fear has not–and cannot–win the war.
When fear wins, evil wins. And that simply isn’t an option–not now, not ever.
I may be feeling afraid, but I refuse to respond in fear. Instead, I choose hope. I choose to embrace life. I choose to focus on goodness.
Most of all, I choose Love.
Because Love already chose me.
Love chooses you too. That is, if you choose to be chosen. Because love is always a choice.
In this restless world, there is trouble. There are challenges. There is heartache. There is loss.
There is fear.
And sometimes, fear strikes close to home.
When it does, how will we respond?
How will you respond?
We can’t always avoid fear–we don’t always have that choice. But we can choose how we respond.
We can choose love.
We can choose to love beyond the fear.
Will you pray with me? For my community? For your community? For our world?
Will you pray that we learn to respond in love, not fear?
If we do, maybe, just maybe …
Love will strike closer to home than fear.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. —Rom.12:21