There are things in this life that we will probably never be able to understand. Violence and tragedy are two of those things.
This weekend a man with a rifle walked the streets of my neighborhood. Less than a mile from my home he killed those that he encountered until he was stopped by the police. There is no sufficient answer to the questions that come alongside this news. No sufficient answer to why, no sufficient answer to why those people, why that street, no sufficient answer to how we are supposed to feel or what is appropriate to say.
Unfortunately, this is not my first encounter with senseless violence. If there is anything I can say that I feel is true in the wake of violence it is this: community matters.
At a candlelight vigil tonight people gathered to honor those that lost their life, to stand with family and friends, to be neighbors, to be community. Looking around that vigil there were some familiar faces – people I call friends and whom I know. There were also acquaintances, people whom I have seen often and recognize. There were mostly strangers. Together we make up this little neighborhood in downtown Colorado Springs and tonight we chose to stand together and talk of community and peace, talk of love and support. We raised our candles as one pastor asked us if we “Loved our ‘hood.” Absolutely I love this ‘hood. I love it times of joy and triumph. I love it in times of tragedy and loss. I love it in the senseless and I love it in the true.
Standing there on the overpass above the busy, noisy street that intersects directly with where the news crews, police cars, and neighbors stood the day before we chose to be connected instead of isolated in our grief. We chose to let grief show because grief is a sign of love and care for those around us. We chose to meet new neighbors and have meaningful conversations. We chose to embrace each other and show solidarity in the face of senselessness. And that is what makes sense. In tragedy, in violence, solidarity is the answer that makes sense.
Tonight I sit in my little house and think of those who will feel cold and empty in their loss and I whisper comfort to them. I think of those who are confused and hurting and wish comfort for them. I think of my neighborhood, my community and hope for it. In tragedy, I will be solidarity.