What I knew that night before the shooting as I went to bed was that I was there to help raise money for a medical center that was helping change and save lives in that little town- and I was happy to be apart of it. Little did I know how significant my presence would be in the midst of such tragedy, shock and sorrow.
The Executive Director called me on the phone in the morning and told me what had happened. Of course I hadn’t been watching the news….I was resting and preparing to speak that night. I had missed something huge!
“What in the world am I going to say? What CAN I say in such a time as this? Why am I even here? They should cancel their event and let me go home. I am just in the way. Is this really happening?!” Those were all thoughts that played through my head the entire day leading up to the fundraiser that night.
My mom, the most social being that I have ever known, called and said she had a friend in the area who could drive me to the event. Great! That took one less stressor off of my mind. Now I could concentrate on what I would say. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to sound insensitive in their time of mourning and loss. I didn’t want to make our stand against abortion seem like it was more important than standing against what they had experienced earlier that morning. I didn’t want to make jokes that they didn’t want to hear. I wanted them to believe that the services that were being offered by the medical center were life-saving services that I wish were available and prevalent in their time of need—especially earlier that morning. I wanted to help protect the women, families and children that were walking into this medical center like I wish someone had protected those that had lost their lives just a few hours earlier. What in the world could I say to make THIS make sense? Why were these people here to head me speak in the midst of what had just happened? What did they need to hear?
I had a while to think on my way over to the event center where I would be speaking as my mom’s friends drove. I realized that only God knew what they needed to hear and I gave it up to him. I literally did not know what I would say until the words came out of my mouth on stage…but something amazing happened.
This community was able to relate to the tragedy that abortion is having on our country today because of the tragedy that they had experienced that day in their little town. They understood the ripple affect that abortion has on so many because they knew that in a town that small- the losses would not just affect the immediate family members but also all who were related to or friends of the immediate family members. In the same way- abortion affects many more than just the woman having the abortion. They got it! They knew the importance of fighting for life because they had been fighting for the lives of their community members all day that day. They wanted to help these women, babies and families just like I did because they knew how grateful they were for the help their community had received in their time of unexpectancy, shock and grief. They cheered, they laughed, they cried and they came together as community to help change and save lives . It was so powerful!
I left Roseburg, OR a changed person. Not because of the shooting that I had been so close to that day. Not because of the talk that I gave you or the medical center that I spoke for. BUT because of the way I saw a community come together in their time of need and meet the needs of others. WOW! This is what it’s all about, folks. If we would just all come together, especially in our times of need or grief, and cry on each others shoulders, share, and help one another. Isn’t that what Christ did on the cross? In his time of pain and sorrow- He poured out his life for us so that we may live abundantly. May we do the same for others.