Virginia Beach: It is possible to be both sad and strong

While I didn’t personally know any of the victims from the tragedy that took place in my city, the event did personally shake me. Even as details come to light, the why will never make sense. 

I have loving parents and a large extended family. I spent 37 years as a single person. Now that I have a family of my own, events like these engage me differently. I can’t seem to wash the sadness off, even during the most blissful time of my life. I can never fully imagine the pain these families of the Virginia Beach tragedy are feeling. The loss. The love that was shared. The dreams and hearts shattered. The plans forever altered. I find compassion when reading the stories and feel comfort as I learn about their Christian faith.

It is hard to proceed as usual during this time. I feel as though if I’m not sad or silent, I’m not honoring the lives lost, or the first responders who are healing from what they saw, or the VBPD who carried out the returning fire and ultimately saved countless others.  I’m beginning to understand that while it is necessary to grieve, we must have gratitude alongside it.

The paradigm of emotions isn’t one that seems natural. Sadness and strength? Should we not celebrate that friend who just got promoted? How about the one who is pregnant? Does celebrating a loved ones graduation seem appropriate? Even our own wedding?

Life will continuously serve up an ever changing dynamic. In turn we must be able to have faith in something that is steady. A place to anchor our hope to.

Recently I attended a funeral for an individual who was more like a member of my in-laws family. A long lasting decades old relationship. The circumstances of the death were tragic. But the service that was held was a true celebration. Singing, rejoicing, praising, and remembering. While many are still angry and what seems to be an unnecessary death, we search for hope and  found joy from a his life lived.

Ultimately what I have come to learn is this.  All of our lives hold value. We coexist  simultaneously. Some days, months, seasons, or years are full of joy for many while others are in their deepest sorrow. I believe it is important to honor where each of us is while respecting and meeting our neighbors where they are. The gratitude I have felt the past few days seems to mirror melancholy. Humans by nature are compassionate. Also we are persistent. Let us use those strengths for ourselves while propping up our neighbors.


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