I was staying in a hotel on the campus of the University of Memphis that day. I had left the hotel early that morning and was now returning. It was mid-morning. As I walked near the hotel, I saw police. They were standing by their cars just outside the hotel. There were four or five of them. Meanwhile, a man with a walkie-talkie was walking through the lobby.
Inside the lobby of the hotel, I saw at least three other officers. They all seemed to be on alert about something. I sensed something was going on but of course had no idea what was taking place.
I returned to my room and turned on the television. Something terrible had happened. A shooter had injured or killed a number of students on the campus of Virginia Tech University. Details were very fuzzy at that point but many campuses throughout the nation were on alert as several (including one in Tennessee) had received threats.
You know this story. The shooter turned out to be a 23-year-old student who, according to a recent Christianity Today article (Deann Alford, "Nightmare of Nightmares," p. 52), was supposed to be in a "Bible as Literature" class that morning.
What an incredibly sad story. Yet that kind of story is out of the ordinary for most of us. This is not something we deal with every day. Yet what we do have to deal with are the tragedies that happen on a much smaller scale but are nevertheless jarring to us because of the relationships we experience with these people.
Maybe that is why Brian Mashburn’s recent post caught my attention. The title? "My Friend Lost a Son." After reflecting on this tragic situation involving his friend, Brian makes these suggestions regarding how we live each day:
Forgive everyone of everything now.Never care if someone else is preferred over you, ever.Repay evil with kindness every single time you are wronged.Love everyone. Everyone.Fight for everyone’s heart. Everyone’s.Stop hiding.Withhold nothing from your spouse, your kids, and your parents.Stop lying. And stop believing that "not telling the whole truth" isn’t lying.Use every single dollar you ever have stewardship of to bless others.Say "I love you" way too much.Show "I love you" way too much.Be with those you love way too much and poor, rather than away from them a little and rich.LISTEN!If you must talk, talk about what matters.Respect everyone. Everyone.If you don’t look at your kids and marvel, figure out what is wrong with you.Get over yourself and become a "hugger."Walk slowly through the crowd.Stop being offendable.Believe.Be still without being asleep.Be present without having to be noticed.Notice without having to be reminded.Say the negative things after you have exhausted everything you can say that is encouraging to anyone.Find yourself in every single other person’s flaws, that you may love them.Accept suffering as a gift, that you may leave nothing wasted.Think the best of all people, that you may be a blessing.Humble yourself constantly, that you may be lifted up, and not by yourself.Receive
anything good at all as undeserved grace, that you may be a lover of
God, and a benefit to those closest to you and to all mankind.