On April 20th 1999, my children were five and seven at the time of the Columbine shooting. Their elementary school was the location where students reunited with their parents. Our babysitter hid under a table in the cafeteria for hours until the SWAT team came. She later spoke to schools with the message, where would you be in your faith if that happened to you today? Her calling was just one of the many what God works for good that came from that tragedy.
The community created a network of people wiling to help those in need. From counselors to hall monitors, prayer walks and more, people stepped up and did their part. What God works for good.
Church groups helped with meals. Usually a simple task but delivering meals to those who had lost a child or had an injured child was not simple at all. Many broke down at the sight of us when we came bearing home cooked meals. What God works for good.
A mother whose son was injured started a prevention committee. She didn’t pity herself having a son who would never have the use of his foot. She got involved like the rest of us. What God works for good.
Our good friend was on one of the SWAT teams. He wouldn’t talk about the incident, buried in his heavy heart. Because of his experience he created new strategies and nationwide training for other SWAT teams on how to deal with situations like Columbine. What God works for good.
Our neighbor was in the science room, hiding in a closet with another student and teacher who had been shot, and died during her watch. She had a difficult time recovering from that experience, but became a believer through it all. What God works for good.
The Olympics reminded our country of Columbine when the principal of the school ran with the torch down the street in front of Columbine High School. He is still the principal today. What God works for good.
Count them, seven works for good, the perfect number. One horrific day against an infinity of what Christ is still working for good.
Seven years later the Amish shootings took place. The forgiveness they gave was a lesson to us all. Although there was forgiveness during the Columbine tragedy, the Amish took it to a new level. The mother of the man who shot the Amish still visits one of the girls who lived through the ordeal. She reads to her and takes her swimming every Thursday, even though the girl doesn’t have the use of her legs, and can’t talk. The Amish parents welcome this woman into their home, and they share a meal together.
One of the many good things that came from these experiences is it’s taught me how to realistically weave God into my stories. Faith issues are a common weakness for my characters, even the good ones. The, how could God let this happen, phrase is relatable to readers, so they join in the journey of working through my characters to make the situation into good, which rings true for me. I saw both bitterness and hope at Columbine, I chose hope.
Question: What difficult experiences have inspired your writing?