My heart aches! The news headlines are reporting yet another school shooting. This time in the Portland, Oregon area. When will this stop? Why can't we seem to get a hold of this? There are just too many school shootings happening in the United States. We need to do something about this. From what I have read so far today in the news, we do not know the name of this killer but we do know the name of the young man who walked into the school in Connecticut last December. His name was Adam Lanza.
As the news of the school shootings surfaced in December of 2012, mental health was a key issue that kept resurfacing. And if you read my blog post that December, you know that I truly believe this is a place for us to start. We are more comfortable talking about guns and gun control than we are talking about mental health issues. I am a daughter of someone who daily lives with and struggles with mental illness. She is one of the most grace-filled and faith-filled women that I know. Yet I know that mental illness has not been easy for her or for our family. In fact, It took me a really, really long time to share about the illness because I saw how others treated her because of the stigma associated with the illness.
The reality is that there is help out there. With the right medications and care, normal lives can be lived. I think we need to do a much better job of educating about mental health issues. I believe that if we educate more fully, perhaps the number of school shootings will be minimized. I can't say that for sure but what I do know is we need to start somewhere...and mental health seems like a good place to start.
I would be a totally different individual if I hadn't experienced what I have experienced with my family members who daily struggle with mental illness. And the truth is that I love them both and they have taught me so much about life and living even when I know that has been easier said than done for them. Yes, our journeys with mental illness have not been easy. In fact, there have been times when I have wanted to curse God (and probably did) for them! Why us? Why our family? Yet I wouldn't give up this journey for anything! Through it all I have learned what it means in Psalm 30 "Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
And with that said, I also think it is important for us to pray and lift these up to God so let us pray:
"God, we don't understand what happened in Oregon this morning. We ask you to be with the family of the student who was killed. We also ask you to be with the shooter. We don't know why he did what he did but we know that he needs to feel your love and forgiveness. Comfort all those who are filled with fear now at sending their children to school. Guide us as we educate and bring awareness to mental health in our world. God, most of all we ask you to bring your peace into the world. Amen!
(You can read part one; http://prayingontheprairie.blogspot.com/2012/12/i-am-daughter.html and part two here; http://prayingontheprairie.blogspot.com/2013/01/i-am-daughter-part-two.html)