You may have read about another “school shooting” that took place this week in a small Michigan town. I didn’t read about it, I heard about it when my wife called me crying saying there had been a shooting at Dow High School in Midland, a town of 40,000 or so that is about 15 miles from our home. If you live in the area it probably hit you the same way it hit us, in pieces, by word of mouth, from about 11:30 to 1PM Wednesday afternoon. It was only later that I found out that the shooter was actually from Coleman, the tiny town of about 2,000 where my family lives, works, and goes to school. I really don’t feel the need to go into the details (you can check them out here), but it was tragic and evil and has our community in a bit of shock even as this weekend draws near. Honestly, I struggled for the past few days as to whether or not to even bring it up here on the blog, or on the air on my show, but somehow things change when “a small Michigan town” becomes my small Michigan town and I think there is value in expressing how it has affected me, if only I could put my finger on it. I know it seems more personal, it feels more like my family is in danger, even though neither is likely true. I no more knew this boy than the Columbine guys or any others, and my family is in no more danger today than before Wednesday. Yet, somehow I feel responsible, as if I could have saved him. He lived in my town, I might have seen him at the park. Could I have started a conversation? Could I have made an impact? All of the sudden this isn’t about “School Violence” or “Security Measures” it’s about a person who needed help. Maybe, as a culture we are too quick to jump to the “issues” and philosophy instead of seeing the hurting people involved. Maybe we miss the trees for the forest. If anything, this is what taking it personally does, it teaches us to be aware of every soul that crosses our path, and teaches us how unable we really are to change them in the end.
This one event has put me in my place in a very painful way. Powerless, yet responsible, weak, yet unexcused. Maybe the blame game is pointless not because no one is at fault, maybe it’s pointless because we all are.
Whatever the case, today I stand more aware of my utter dependence on God, and on His call for me to see people more than “issues”.