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I turned on the television a little while ago and saw the breaking news of the school shooting at a community college in Oregon. These shootings are still horrifying for me to absorb. When I was young (my girls say when we drank out of gourds) I don’t remember anything of this kind even through high school.

Then we had 9/11 (nobody even has to say what happened: everyone just remembers). There was Oklahoma City and Timothy McVey. More recently we have learned of Sandy Hook and the shooting in the movie theater in Colorado. I could name so many more, but I think I’ve made my point.

We are saddened by these events, but I think we have become somewhat desensitized because we hear this so much.We grieve for these families for awhile until the next tragedy occurs.

There are people I know who cannot even watch or listen to the news because so many terrible things are happening in our self-absorbed society and the many mentally ill or drugged, alcoholic, or deranged people in our current world situation.

This recently has become a personal tragedy in my life, and it will not be forgotten in our family for years to come.

My dad has the sweetest cousin you would ever want to meet. For the purposes of this post, I will call her Mary. She has had some truly difficult health issues and suffers from chronic pain. To meet her, you would never guess that she has had any difficulty in her life. She is one of the most upbeat people I have ever met. She plays the banjo and mandolin, travels across country with her husband to visit her son in Seattle, and she has been so helpful with me, giving me materials, cards, and encouragement as I battle my own chronic pain. I dearly love this woman.

They were recently at my parents home a few  Monday nights ago, eating and visiting as they were on their way home. As usual, Mary lifted my spirits just to see her.

The next morning, She called my mom and was almost incoherent as she related what had happened to her son.

I don’t know if you remember the news story from Virginia a few weeks ago. A news reporter and her photographer were shot and killed as they were working on a segment with a local community leader. The photographer was Mary’s son.

The night before we had been talking and laughing. The next morning she and her husband had their lives changed in an instant as well as the fiancee he was preparing to marry.

This has totally altered my thinking about the families of these tragedies. I have started keeping a list of things like this that I hear about on the news, and I pray for these families for a long time. I would encourage you to do the same if you feel convicted to do so.

We need to remember with every death or injury that occurs, so many more people’s lives are changed in an instant. We need to work not to be desensitized just because we hear of these events so frequently.

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