My Heart is in Hickory

Imagine hearing that there's been a shooting at your child's school.  You frantically drive to the school, your heart undecided if it's going to beat right out of your chest or if it's going to stop beating altogether.  That's what moms and dads faced today after hearing that there was a mass shooting at their kids' high school.

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Two high school students, one fifteen year old female and one male, lost their lives today in Hickory, Kentucky. Nineteen students have been injured. I've read every update that has popped up on my phone screen. I can't imagine having been one of the students in the Commons Area this morning who ran to the nearest business for safety.

I can come closer to imagining what it must have been like to be a mom waiting outside the school this morning. She calls her child's phone.  It goes straight to voicemail.  She sends a text, "Call me". Her eyes scan the crowd and then dart back to the school, and then to her phone. She stares at the screen.

The Daily Mail talked to one mom, Heather Adams, who had already gotten word that her child was safe.  Seeing another distraught mother, she went to her and offered to help her locate her child.  Upon finding out the woman's son's name, Adams texted her own child to find out if the woman's son was one of the injured. Unbelievably, the woman's son ended up being the shooter who had already been taken into custody.  The words spoken next by this gracious woman provided an impact that I hope will change me forever. Adams stated,

“I held her hair while she threw up… She needed an ambulance.

She was going into shock. And I couldn’t get an ambulance there. I got yelled at by the police for calling for an ambulance… We got a firefighter’s coat to put on her.”

If we're honest, we, as a society, don't want to relate to this mom; this woman who birthed a gunman. She's not one of us.  Surely she abused him or bought him the gun, we surmise.  We need to believe she hasn't given him the love he needed. If none of those things, we know one thing. She's the mother of a monster,  a species unlike our own.

God bless this woman named Heather who stayed by her side. Thank you that in the midst of this dark tragedy she doesn't ignore the fact that this woman is a suffering mother; someone who wildly drove to the school just like all of the other mothers, barely able to breathe until she could be sure her son was ok. She never got that affirmation.

This story reminds me of one I heard just yesterday. Three teenagers from a neighboring county (who were too young to be driving) snuck out of the house where they were staying.  There was a car accident and one of the passengers, just fourteen years old, lost her life. In usual reckless fashion I read the comments.

Where were the parents?

Who gave them the keys?

This is why you raise your kids right.

At the thought of such pointless loss we fall to our knees and dig our fingers into the soil beneath us, grasping for a piece of solid ground.  We try to explain why it happened.  In the explanation we form, one thing is vital. We reason that this dark thing that has happened? happens with children who don't have good parents. We often think the same with parents whose children get caught sexting or 'drinking and driving' or doing drugs.

Grave mistakes are made and terror is acted out only by children whose parents don't love them. Tragedy occurs because parents hand the keys over to their thirteen year old in the middle of the night encouraging them to go on a joy ride. These things only happen when parents don't teach their kids right from wrong. It only happens to the irresponsible and unloving variety of moms and dads. We tell ourselves such things because we fumble for peace.

My heart goes out to the families of the two children who lost their lives today.  I pray for the kids from Hickory high school, many of whom will likely sleep in their parents' bedroom tonight and will suffer psychologically for years to come. My heart hurts for the family in Mauriceville who will never kiss their daughter goodnight again. My heart is also torn for the family of this boy whose mind turned dark in a way we'll never understand. They're grieving their own loss.

Thank you to the lady in Hickory today who reminded us of that.

Lord grant us a heart big enough to love all those who suffer.

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